Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Tropical Wool Straight Leg Pants

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

Rachel Roy Tropical Wool Straight Leg PantsHappy Monday! I’m loving these pants from Rachel Roy. Love the tropical wool, as well as the fact that they’re partially lined. I also like that they sit higher on the waist than a lot of trousers, but don’t quite harken back to the “high waisted” trend of a year or two ago. Simple, beautiful, classic — love ’em. They’re $345 at Bloomingdale’s. Rachel Roy Tropical Wool Straight Leg Pants

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  1. Email from Nordstrom, two days after I placed my Anniversary order: “One or more of your items is no longer available and will not be shipped. We apologize for this inconvenience and would be happy to assist you in finding a replacement item(s).”

    It’s the Halogen pencil skirt. Noooooooooooo! :( Haha. I was looking forward to finally checking it out, after all the great reviews here.

    • Oh no! I ordered one of those in a backordered color and am half-expecting it won’t show either.

    • MaggieLizer :

      If you call your local store they might be able to track it down for you; the stores seem to be on a different system than the website. I’ve been able to get things ordered at the store that are no longer available online.

    • Nordstrom did that to me a couple of weeks back when I ordered the Adrianna Papell blue sheath dress.

      So annoying. I know Nordstrom’s usually has great service, but I think they could have made some additional effort to compensate for this.

      I had the same problem with a dress I ordered from ideeli, but they actually gave me a $25 credit as an apology.

      • Anonymous :

        It’s a tradeoff, though – I bet ideeli doesn’t allow returns on nearly the range of what Nordstrom does.

  2. So, this morning I received the Ann Taylor “shop our fall looks early” e-mail, which I would normally ignore. But there was one item in the look featured that really made me laugh — want to post it here.


    Lovely skirt. Great color. Might even be an appropriate length (assuming normal length thighs). But there is a GIANT exposed zipper right up the side. Made me want to cry. And share here. :-)

    • I got the same email, though I really didn’t look at it. But I wanted to cry about the fact that they were trying to sell “fall” looks already!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      19″ is way too short for me, but the skirt’s true source of awesomeness is indeed the giant exposed zipper. Bonus points for the zipper going from hem to waist. Very easy off!

      • somewhere(less)cold :

        Too bad it’s not a two-way zipper for easiest on/off and adjusting. But I agree with you on the length–too short for me.

    • Ballerina Girl :

      I think it depends on your office–that would totally fly in my non-profit office. I think that just looks stylish and modern–not like break-away pants (er, skirt).

      • Double exactly agree.

      • Yeah, I work at a consulting firm with a casual dress code, and this would totally fly. If it wasn’t $100, I’d consider it, and I’ll keep an eye on the sales for it.

        • I also work at a consulting firm and this would totally fly here (on days w/ no client meetings obviously).

    • Heh, totally appropriate for my office, too. And, I hope a lot of people DON’T like it so I can pick it up in a sale. Love the orange, love the shape, zipper looks interesting.

      I don’t mind seeing fall clothes, but it makes me depressed to realize there are still about 3.5 months to go before I can even contemplate wearing them. I truly hate summer.

    • Oh, this would actually be really cute to wear to a club. I like it. Definitely not for work, though.

    • I feel like I should clarify…its not even that I think it’s inappropriate for work. I just think the giant exposed zipper is too much and undermines what would otherwise be a pretty skirt (and I agree with others from the conversation a few weeks ago that said that prominent features like this are what is likely to make an item look dates.)

      Anyway…I think if there is one message you can take from this website, its that personal preferences (and offices) vary wildly. :-)

    • I saw that and considered whether I could buy a size up and take it to a tailor to have them put in a hidden side zip (and maybe not one that runs the length of the skirt). Anyone have any insight into whether going up a size would give them enough fabric to do that? It may not be long enough in any case, but I have been really wanting an orange skirt lately.

    • I kind of like it just not for work.

  3. Apologies in advance for the Monday morning vent:
    Spent the weekend visiting fiance’s best friends and their three children all under the age of 12. Fun but exhausting (and good for helping me realize that 3 would be too many for me). Get to office this morning to see that the office next to mine is being subdivided into 2 offices and the walls are going up today. So now I’m tired and cranky and it is really really loud in here!
    Now to go seek out projects that don’t require me to be at my desk…

  4. somewhere(less)cold :

    I just have to share this. I got married about two weeks ago. Yesterday evening, our officiant (who we didn’t have a relationship with before, just found him to do the wedding) emailed to say he hoped all was well, wanted to know what we thought about the wedding–all well and good–and then he said he had a quick question and needed some legal advice. Seriously?

    • I LOL’d.

    • soulfusion :

      At first I thought that was really nice of him . . . but I so very much dread the random legal advice questions. I generally hide behind my niche practice and claim ignorance as to all other matters unless I know someone who can help and then I make a referral as I decline. Or maybe refer to a resource that might help? Good luck!

  5. Question for iPad lovers/tech geeks out there…

    I’m seriously considering getting one before I travel for a month in September (between jobs). I know that there’s talk of the iPad 3 being released sometime in September, but I’d need to get one before then. Thoughts on buying technology that will be outdated very soon? Also, any experience with blogging on an iPad? Finally, I’d be using the iPad to upload travel photographs. Anyone used it for photography purposes?

    • 1. The iPad is pretty great, and I’ve blogged through it using a wordpress app. Using it horizontally with the smart cover to prop it up feels nice, and the keys on the the virtual keyboard are big and spread out enough that it was fairly easy to type. I just got mine a month ago, and the rumor that a new one’s coming out in a few months doesn’t worry me.

      2. The iPad camera is awful. It is SO bad. However, if you go to the Apple store, they do have a camera kit, so you can either plug in your sd card into a dongle or connect your camera using a usb dongle. I use a p&s camera and have no problems using it, and there are a ton of great photo editing apps.

      • Great, thanks! Yeah, I have a Canon T1i that I’d be taking pictures with. I’d like to be able to upload them to the iPad, edit them, then upload then to the internet while I’m traveling.

        Are you able to insert images into your blog posts easily?

        • I think the uploading may be the tricky part. I know there is a way to do it, but you probably need a special device/adaptor. Remember the ipad doesn’t have a USB port.

        • I use this to upload photos:

          I can’t remember off the top of my head how the blogging photos went, but I’ll try it out and see how it goes today.

  6. Love these pants. They look like BR’s. Martin fit ones that I love. But not a fan of the colour shown….

    • Yes, I think the question is whether one would wear the color enough to warrant the cost. Great pants though.

    • I actually have a pair of tropical wool pants from Ann Taylor in what I think is a very similar color. I had the same concern when I ordered them, but they have become one of my favorite nuetral pairs of pants. They seem to go with everything in my closet (although I do tend to stick to a couple of colors – lots of variations in the blue-green part of the spectrum). I also really like them with a navy blazer.

  7. Frustrated :

    I’m not sure if I really need advice here, or what. I’m a lawyer, clerked for a year, which ended about a year ago (so 2 years since graduation). After clerking, I spent a long and exhaustive time without steady work. About 2 months ago, I finally received and accepted a steady job with a small firm. I’m really enjoying the office environment and the work, but I’m finding that I just don’t have enough of it.

    It’s ebbed and flowed, of course, and that’s fine, but in the past few weeks, it’s seemed like there is nothing for me to do. I’ve told the partners that I could use more, and they always say that they’ll take a look, but don’t get back to me. I don’t have a billable hour requirement, but my salary is pretty much pathetic without reaching certain bonus levels that I’m starting to worry that I won’t even come close to reaching. It’s getting to where I read these things about people working long days and not having work/life balance and all I can feel is jealously- I could come in at 8, leave at 5, and still waste half my day.

    The partners are all older, and I think that they are slowing down some; they seem to take a pretty casual attitude towards work. I’m the only associate. They made a pretty big deal when they hired me about wanting me to start asap because they really needed help and wanting me to transition into taking over for them as they retire, which sounded great. But now, I’m kind of scared. I spent a lot of time just half-way working, and I was really excited about having a full-time, demanding, hopefully lucrative job, and I’m worried that I’ve just moved from one half-job to another.

    I don’t know that there’s really any question that I have here; I’m just feeling miserable about it, yet again.

    • I am in a similar position – the small firm I work for has a few, older partners. I’m the youngest of three associates, and the only female. The work here ebbs and flows as well. I’m not sure what type of law you are in, but the summers are quite slow for us compared to the rest of the year. I was so busy during the winter I thought my head would explode.
      We don’t have an hours requirement, either. I simply account for the time I spend during my day -whether it’s billable or not. I have a time slip (yes, we do things by hand, still…) that I list my “office time.” When I don’t have enough billable work to do, I educate myself on how to do something new and write it down so they know I am not wasting their time or my salary.
      Best of luck to you – being bored is the absolute worst.

      • Frustrated :

        Any tips for pushing yourself to do educational things rather than goof off? I always plan to, but I’ve always been the sort who works much better when things are pressing on me, and I find that I just waste the time rather than actually doing anything constructive. (I love the idea of logging hours for it, but don’t have a way to do that in my office.)

        • Take a good old fashioned pen and a tablet and get thee to the library. Without your computer. I just sit down with a CLE or some other practice oriented book and take notes. Sometimes, I end up throwing the notes away because the notes are the same as the CLE, but the act of sitting and writing allows me to absorb things more fully.

          I also started pulling all the memos and briefs I have written for cases into my own folder and labeling them according to the topic of law, so I can find them when I need them. Nothing is worse than knowing you’ve already researched something and not being able to find the brief. For smaller points of law, I started making note cards that briefly summarize the rule, with the topic of law as the heading. That way, I can flip through those cards when I know I have seen a past case on point. Some might prefer to do this on a computer, but I prefer the note cards.

        • Yeah, sounds like you need to bring in some clients. Can you join a group in your practice area? Maybe join Rotary or something?

    • Ugh. Been there in a work slowdown period, it’s awful. But … after 2 months, it’s hard to call if this is a temporary break or how things will always be. Maybe the summer months are playing a role. If you started 2 months ago — then it must have been around Memorial Day. Could the summer be slower? Are you the first associate they’ve had in a while? Could it be that they’re not remembering to delegate enough?

      Can you do anything productive in the downtime? Maybe co-author an article with one of the partners?

    • Frustrated – I hear where you coming from. I would rather be flat out than bored any day of the week! It sounds to me like it would be a great time for you to engage in some client development. The development aspect (taking people out to lunch, going to networking events) can be time consuming itself, but it will almost certainly result in work for you in the near future, at best, or at least down the road. Perhaps even consider taking on a pro bono case to keep your plate full and expand your experience, knowledge base ,and perhaps even practice area. I think you need to stay busy and add value to your firm so that (1) they don’t reconsider your position, but more importantly (2) that you maintain some sanity.

      I love these pants. I wonder what partially lined means?

      • it probably means lined around the waist and crotch area, but not at or below the knee.

        • For some reason, it seems really strange to me that the lining would just stop at the knees. I have never seen a pair of pants like that. Why not just line the whole thing? Hmm.

          • well, one reason is cost …. (let’s ignore the obvious question of whether $345 is or isn’t enough $ to justify more lining)

            other reasons are breathe-ability, drape, comfort. pants fully lined down to the ankles are maybe too warm, not enough ventilation, if these are fall season or late summer season pants. also since these appear kind of drap-ey and flowy down towards the bottom, more lining would probably mess up the flow and swing of the pant leg a bit.

            so sometimes designers line the top and crotch areas only, to minimize any unwanted lines or sweat stains or whatever and leave the rest …

          • I have a pair of Boden pants that are lined to the knee; in my mind it’s an acceptable compromise, because where I really want the lining is the upper half of the pants. The pants drape fine, and they actually leave me slightly cooler, which is nice for a climate that is not freezing in the winter.

    • Ballerina Girl :

      I would just say that it took me about six months to really get brought into the fold at my last firm (granted, it was a very big firm). It was annoying and I did have some work, but I was mostly slow. Even thought about leaving. Then I got brought in on tons of big cases and longed for the good old days when I had no work! If I were you, I’d hang in there for a while since you’ve jumped around a bit lately (all for good things, but you don’t want too many one year stints on your resume immediately after law school–other than clerking).

    • Anonymous :

      I too am the only associate working for two partners. Our practice is a general practice with a focus on litigation. When I don’t have work and I have nudged the partners about it, I check out their calendars. Look at new client consults, upcoming deadlines and hearings/trials on the horizon. I’ll ask to sit in on the new client meetings, prepare an exhibit and witness list or rough draft a motion that will need to be filed in the near future. This will usually get the ball rolling for other projects that could use my attention and it reminds the partners that I need work.

    • found a peanut :

      I am with you. I’m at a small firm and the work ebbs and flows here as well. My hours are laughable and short of padding my hours there is no way to get more billables. Keep asking and keep sending emails (one partner made it a point to come into my office during bonus time to tell me that when the partners discussed my lack of hours he spoke up for me to tell them I’m constantly asking for work and he told me I was doing the right thing).

      I now have to negotiate my raise and I don’t know how I can justify asking for more than they’ve offered me, so I’ve decided to ask for more vacation time (after they shoot me down on more $). If there is nothing for me to do I may as well get to not be here for more time. Perhaps you could make the same request? Making a low salary is a little easier to deal with when you get an extra week of vacation.

  8. OMG, $345 for a pair of pants? that’s waaaay overpriced …

    ha. just kidding. love these, including the higher waist. they look similar to a pair that Vince makes.



      Can’t believe we made it so far this week. Maybe those pants really ARE worth $345….


  9. I am going on an African safari later this year (so excited!) and I need a couple lightweight pairs of pants. I expect to mostly be sitting in a vehicle and doing some light walking (there’s a chance this is a misperception though…) so I don’t think they need to be extremely rugged. Petite sizes would be a huge plus, though I can have longer lengths shortened. Eddie Bauer has a pair on sale for $30 that I’m considering, but the reviews are good, not glowing. I’d prefer not to spend more than $100/pair. Just not sure where to go for this sort of thing – any advice would be appreciated!

    • I’d check out Athleta.com. They always cute, rugged-type pants that people wear hiking (at least, in the catalog they do….). I know they have “tall” lengths, so they may even have short lengths.

    • S in Chicago :

      I’ve had good luck at REI for performance clothes. LL Bean sometimes has good options, too–although it takes some trying on to find what works best. A few pant styles are still very “mom jeans” like.

    • somewhere(less)cold :

      I have a pair of Prana pants that I like. They are fairly lightweight and comfortable (button/zip fly with a drawstring). Mine have regular pockets and cargo pockets, and they can be rolled and buttoned to a capri length. Outdoor stores like EMS and REI carry the brand. I’ve mentioned the brand Horny Toad before, and I generally like their stuff and think they will have something like what you want, but I haven’t bought any of their pants recently. Sounds like an exciting trip!

    • Find a store that carries North Face or Patagonia – they make pants that will be perfect for this kind of trip. Athleta is probably also a good idea.

      • LadyEnginerd :

        I went to Egypt a few years ago and still love a pair of lightweight Patagonia pants I bought for the occasion. I’m a petite with short legs/long torso and the length was just right.

        Patagonia is quite pricey, but if you go on the website and stalk the web specials (particularly at the end of summer when the lightweight stuff goes on sale), you can probably find a really good deal.

      • Mountain Equipment Co-op is a good place for lower priced good quality outdoors gear when it doesn’t need to be quite as technical as Patagonia/North Face.

        • Backcountry [dot] com is great, too. Awesome selection and frequent sales. Their sister clearance site, SteepandCheap [dot] com, has some amazing steals, as well.

    • another anon :

      Seconding REI. When I did this type of trip a few years ago, they had some of those lightweight hiking pants where you can zip off the bottoms and turn them into shorts. And they came in petites. They were definitely more than $30, but I don’t think they were more than $100. Where are you going? Unless you are doing primate viewing, you are probably correct that you will mostly be sitting/standing in a vehicle and/or doing light hiking.

    • I did an African safari 1 year ago, and am in your position size-wise (5′ even). I had great luck with Eastern Mountain Sports; they have zip-off leg quick-dry pants in petite sizes that worked really well for me. The zip-offs were perfect b/c I could remove the long pants part and make them into capris when in the vehicle for long periods of (hot!) time. They also washed up in the sink and dried overnight. Huge plus! I got some pants from Athleta, but was unhappy with the quality (they snagged on plants during my few quick hikes in the bush). The other pair I got that I really like actually came from Marshalls for $9.99; they were roll-up leg cargos (i.e., convertible pants to capris) with an elastic waistband.

      For shoes, I had great luck with Jambu-brand hiking shoes. Great quality, great comfort, and pull-on, which was awesome.

      Let me know if you have other questions! We were in Tanzania; great trip, but you’re right, lots of time in the vehicle!

      Oh, one other thought; do bring a hat. I had a dorky safari hat and was almost embarrassed to take it, but ended up using it constantly…

      • Here are the EMS pants (short length): http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3645897

      • Thanks for all the tips, DCJ and everyone else!!

        DCJ, I’m also going to be in Tanzania! I really appreciate the shoe recommendation as well. As for the hat, my safari operator said they provide them, but maybe I’ll look for one I especially like in case theirs isn’t so great. Fantastic reminder!

        • I prefer bandanas b/c hats get in the way of my camera, but bandanas keep my hair out of my face and sweat off my face. I just reapply my sunblock every 30 minutes or so.

          • soulfusion :

            I’m also a bandana fan – less cumbersome. And as for sunscreen, I highly recommend the sticks for applying out in the field without a mirror. They are getting more and more easy to find and I especially like the Neutrogina baby one.

    • REI is great. Also check out patagonia.com and title9.com. I lived in the jungle doing field research in a previous life (before becoming a lawyer) and had great success with mountain hardware, royal robbins, and patagonia.

      I specifically love these:



    • I’ve been to Africa 6 times and all involved some safari portion. First, make sure that you’re not going to be doing heavy duty hiking (if you’re going to East Africa or South Africa, probably not). Assuming you’re not hiking for gorillas in the rain forest or something similar, for shoes, bring a pair of running (or similar) shoes and tevas. That’s all you need. You just need something closed toe if you do a walking safari (which is as low key of walking as they come).

      For pants, get some that dry quickly b/c its dusty and you’ll want to wash them out in the sink frequently. Most of my pants are Athleta or, surprisingly, Old Navy (they sometimes have cargo pants that you can roll up to capris). I like the Athleta ones b/c they are actually something I would wear outside of Africa. The ones I’ve gotten from REI and North Face are kinda fugly.

      You didn’t ask, but I always bring old t-shirts to sleep in and then leave them behind. Someone there will love to have them. Also pack all my old (soon to be dead) socks and underwear and leave them behind as well…that leaves a bit of room for souvenirs in my luggage. :)

      • I looked it up – I really like the dipper pant by Athleta (and it seems to come in petites). I can’t recall if I have the regular or low rise. Its really flattering on and the fabric dries soooo fast. It has a couple extra pockets that are useful for camera batteries or memory cards. And I don’t mind the photos where I’m wearing them at all.http://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=46800&vid=1&pid=683761

        Mine have been through a few trips to Africa (maybe 4) and the only casualty is that the snap on the lower pocket is sort of messed up so the pocket no longer snaps together.

    • soulfusion :

      I haven’t read all of the comments so forgive me if I’m repeating anything but I really like the brand Kuhl – sometimes hard to find what I want but they are carried at REI and Zappos (easy returns!) and generally run true to size. I really dislike North Face pants simply because they always feel really tight in the thigh/butt area (and other friends have said the same) although I like their other active gear. But I also am pretty athletic so I have what I prefer to call “athletic” thighs. Merrell and Columbia pants are good too but it is easy for these to run into the high wasted, unflaterring territory. I think others have mentioned Athleta but I haven’t really found hiking pants I like from there. Convertibles are great – either into capris or shorts – as you may have areas where pants are a must but may be able to wear shorts at camp. So very jealous of the trip! Happy shopping!

      • Second Kuhl (and the advice about North Face fit). Some of my other favorite outdoor/technical/casual brands:

        Mountain Hardware

    • Have a blast! Keep in mind that there are now some really good garments made with insect repellant or SPF built into the fabric. That might be good to have. (I’ve seen them at REI and, surprisingly, Wal-Mart.)

      • another anon :

        There is also a spray-on insect repellent for your clothing. I forget the name of it, but they carry it at REI and if I recall correctly, it is supposed to last through 5 or more washes. Basically you just spray it on your clothing and let it dry and you are good to go. I personally HATE slathering myself with DEET so I really liked having sprayed all my clothes before leaving on my trip.

        (Also, along these lines, make sure to take your malaria prophylaxis at the same time every day. Apparently it becomes less effective if you don’t do this.)

        • Thanks for all the additional tips, everyone! I’ve used the clothing spray for a rain forest trip I took last year (worked great) and was just thinking it was time to order more. Amazon carried it back then – hoping it’s just as easy this time.

          • soulfusion :

            I used the spray in the rain forest in the Amazon as well and found it was easier to buy pants/shirts I really like that fit well and spray this stuff on as opposed to buying the stuff with it already in it because for whatever reason women’s adventure gear is only very recently learning how to be flattering. I have one particular Exofficio shirt that I banned from further trips because every picture I looked so ridiculously boxy – there are better clothes out there with built in SPF, you just have to hunt a bit more.

          • And lest anyone wonder what I’m doing posting this question given my recent rain forest adventure, I’ll have you know I wore loose fitting jeans throughout that trip. Temperatures weren’t too high while I was there, but it was still a pretty bad call.

  10. Looking for happy corporate lawyers... :

    I’ve been practicing in a couple areas of corporate law at a big firm for two years. I don’t love the work and I really don’t like the lifestyle (hours, billable hours). Basically, I can suck it up and do it a couple more years if it prepares me for a next step in law that I can enjoy, but I’m worried that I might be bored working in-house at a corporation, and I certainly can’t see myself practicing at big city big firm for too long.
    I know litigators who really enjoy their work at smaller firms and in government, and tax lawyers who love their jobs, but not general corporate folks who are generally happy where they are (either at a firm or in-house).
    I’m considering a career change outside of the law, and would love love love to hear something that would make me reconsider!
    Thanks in advance for sharing :)

    • No experience myself, but I summered at a big firm in the southeast where the corporate lawyers seemed pretty happy. They always made a big show of (good-naturedly) poking fun at the litigators for having to work harder and dress more formally and that sort of thing. I’ll note that the big law culture in the south (mid-sized city, nothing like Atlanta) seems to be a lot more relaxed than what I understand it to be in the northeast, if that makes a difference to you.

    • I am curious why you think that working in-house would be so boring?

      • I second that – I work in-house and think it’s very interesting.

        • Looking for happy corporate lawyers... :

          I’ve just known several people who work in-house who say that the work is more repetitive and they deal with fewer high level, interesting issues than they did in a firm setting. I’d certainly like to hear otherwise.

          • It may depend on how the in-house department is structured. Some large corporations have lots of lawyers that handle very specific matters–so they’ll have lawyers that only do IP lit, others that only do acquisitions, others that only handle employment matters. In that instance, yes, I would expect you would be doing a lot of the same stuff. Some other companies have very small in-house departments that handle everything–in which case, you’d see a lot more variety. I met with some in-house lawyers recently for a Fortune 250 that has a very small legal department. They all seemed psyched about their jobs because they’re constantly dealing with varied (and often new) issues. They also said that the line between legal/business gets blurred, and so they have much more of an opportunity to participate in business decision-making than you might expect. So, I wouldn’t outright dismiss going in-house.

          • Echoing Herbie, it definitely depends on the size of the legal department/company. I work in a relatively small company in a very specialized field. The law in my field is constantly changing and constantly in the news. I also am involved in a good deal of lobbying, which I have always found fascinating. I went in-house straight out of law school though, so my only views of the other legals areas come through my friends. If you look toward going in-house, just really research what type of business you’d be going into and how big their legal department is. If you are not at all interested in the business, you may find the position really boring and draining. You really have to keep up with business issues as much as legal issues (sometimes more).

            My favorite thing about being in-house though is wearing flip-flops to work most days. :)

    • I’d love to see responses to this as well. It’s my 4th year as a corporate associate and I’m wondering how best to transition into a more enjoyable position. In-house is appealing to me but the jobs are few and far between.

    • Some general advice. You seem to already know you’re not going to be at your firm long term. That’s fine. But suck up as much experience as you possibly can. Use your firm as much as it’s using you. You may not have figured out what you should do in the long run, but getting as much experience as you possibly can will pay off.

      As far as not loving the work, what is it you don’t love about it? Are you stuck doing low-level drudgery? Or is it a bigger issue than that? Is it possible for you to switch into another practice group that you might be more jazzed about (I did this, so if you want some advice on that, let me know)?

    • A couple of thoughts:

      1. Corporate law is pretty broad. There is a big difference between doing day-to-day corporate maintenance and complex transactional work. Similarly, there is a big difference between working for clients who are highly sophisticated large corporations, and clients who are start-up tech companies. The difference is not only in the content of the work itself, but also the type of personality that it requires. Ask yourself specifically what you don’t like about the work you are doing. It may be that you can move into a different sort of corporate work that won’t require a complete career change.

      2. In-house work, again, really varies depending on the organization and its legal needs. Yes, I can see how being a glorified corporate secretary would be boring. But that is not necessarily what in-house corporate counsel do. If you are working in an organization that is busy and requires some varied work from its in-house team, or that gives its in-house counsel the opportunity to influence strategy and business decisions, that can be a lot of fun.

      I do know corporate lawyers who love their work. Some of them are in large firms and some in small. The first couple of years as a lawyer are really hard and the demands on you are quite high. But my advice to you would be to stick it out, think a little more about what specifically you don’t like about your practice and what you *do* like, and once you have identified both, figure out how you can shift to somewhere that fits your needs a little better. You have spent a lot of time and money training to be a lawyer – don’t give up so easily!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      I love being a corporate lawyer, but my practice is more commercial than corporate and I am in-house. I started in Corporate Services in Biglaw, and while I enjoyed it, I thought the deal side was fine, but the corporate minutes and filings were tedious. I liked my job, but the partner I worked for left, and the partner I was assigned to was a hazer. At that point, I was not the primary income earner in our family, so I went in-house. Love in house practice but not that job, so transitioned back into pure law position and then to my current company. Our department functions as business partners to our business clients, and staying within the four corners of a document will stagnate your career here. We are expected to understand the business, pipe up if there are issues not being raised and be fully engaged in the day to day operations of the company. Its not nirvana, we have corporate politics, both within and outside of the department to deal with, but that exists everywhere. I won’t be here forever, possible one remaining promotion before I crash into my boss, but its been a great experience and I really do like my job.

  11. Legally Brunette :

    Hey all, I hit the Nordstrom anniversary sale on Friday morning and bought a bunch of stuff, and then bought more stuff online later that day. :) I was surprised at how few sizes were left on the first day of the sale. Thought I would provide a recap for all those still considering certain items. I’m of average height, small bust, and about one size larger on top than on the bottom. Here goes my loot:

    1. Halogen seamed skirt (#297557) – I have bought this skirt in previous seasons and always returned it because the sizing seemed off. My normal size has been too big but the size below has seemed a bit too “sexy secretary” for my liking. Trying again in the hopes that it works out better this time. Purchased in the magenta color, dark amethyst, and green moss. I swooned over the magenta color, but note that it is bright and I’m not sure I can get away the color in drab DC. The dark amethyst is much more of a muted purple. The green moss is almost a bright lime green. Definitely size down. If I keep this skirt, I will need to let down the hem about 1 or 1.5 inches.

    2. Halogen Taylor Trousers (item #297533) – Halogen pants are super flattering on hourglass/pear shapes, and this one is no exception. It’s a wider leg and it looks really great. It’s unlined, which I like in the spring/summer. Will need to hem because it’s too long, but evidently alterations are free during the sale.

    3. Halogen cardigan – (#351040) – believe it or not, this is my first ever cardigan purchase! They always look schlumpy on me, but this cardigan is quite fitted and I love the material. I purchased it in the blue. The magenta and yellow are fun too. Note that you may also want to try the petite version, as the cardigan is fairly long. I think I might exchange for the petite size.

    4. Classiques top – (#339347) – I thought I would love the peacock colored top that Kat recommended, but it looked all wrong on me. This top looked a lot better. Flattering fit and the twist on the side is cute.

    5. Classiques majestic flannel dress – (#354769) – could not try on my size so I had to order it online. I tried on a larger size though, and I loved the neckline, the sleeves, the longer length, and the color. Will report back once I try it on in my size.

    6. Eliza faux wrap dress — (#359891) – again, could not try on in my size but I love the idea of this dress and hope it works out. When I saw this dress in person, the fabric looked a bit shiny and thin, but we’ll see how it looks when I get it in the mail.

    7. Suzi Chin jersey dress – (#361746) – bought this dress in purple, and LOVE the color. Looks great on my darker skin. The dress drapes well, is not too sexy, and looks very chic, I think. They only had the petite version in the store so that’s what I tried on, but I purchased the regular size online.

    Hope this helps! Happy to answer questions.

    • Amelia Bedelia :

      is there not free shipping on the anniversary sale?????? ugh. I am ordering 500 bucks worth of clothing and Nordstrom can’t cough up shipping???

      I know, I know. I am ordering this much, what’s another eight dollars, but still!

      • I definitely got free shipping – I think there is free shipping over $200.

      • Legally Brunette :

        Hi there, you get free shipping if you order more than $200 worth of clothes. What I was saying is that alterations on clothes are also free during the sale.

      • MaggieLizer :

        It should be free shipping on any order over $200 if you’re in the US. If it’s not showing up on your order I would contact customer service.

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        thank you everyone.
        I had to log out and log back in for it to apply, but it did! free shipping! whew. It must have been a glitch on my computer . . .

    • Accountress :

      I got the plus size version of the Suzi Chin dress (with the purple and grey pattern), and it is amaaaazing! I’m on the tall side, and I was afraid it would be too short- nope, it’s not. Falls perfectly to the middle of my kneecaps when standing. I cannot recommend it enough.

    • Wondering :

      Super helpful, LB! Thanks for the review.

  12. It is so annoying when pants–especially expensive ones–don’t make it easy to see the inseam length! This model looks tall and slim, and is leading me to imagine the pants would be 12-inches too long for me.

  13. new corporette :


    I am a recent college graduate about to begin work as a paralegal at a small/boutique firm in NYC, after which I hope to attend law school. It’ll be my first “real job,” and I’m trying to put together a wardrobe of quality items on a limited budget. The hiring manager told me that the firm’s dress code is business casual and that paralegals do not usually wear suits. What would a business casual wardrobe look like for a (well-dressed) paralegal? Should I still be wearing a cardigan or some type of blazer/jacket everyday, or is a blouse or silk tee by itself fine? I noticed that the men who met with me were wearing dress pants and a button-front.

    I was also wondering whether I should wear heels or flats. I know I will have to run occasionally from midtown to downtown to file things. I read a post on here about keeping several pairs of shoes under your desk, but I noticed that the paralegal desks are kind of open underneath, and they’re lined up in a heavily-trafficked location, so I don’t think I’d be able to get away with that. On the other hand, I am trying to look older, and heels might help with that….

    Finally, if anyone has tips on what to do on the first day or general advice you’d give to a paralegal just starting out, I’m all ears! :-)

    • Hi New Corporette,

      This has been addressed many times in the threads (especially those dealing with interns, which INHO, are similar business casual requirements). I would stock up on the following: pencil/a-line skirts/pants in black, grey, brown, tan, or navy, silk or silk like shells, and cardigans or “blazer” blazers (in contrasting fabric or colors from the bottoms). Nice flats or heels are fine, whichever you prefer, but I would avoid heels that are tooooo high or have too much of a platform.

      As to tips for paralegaling — I was a paralegal before law school and some of this is going to be office specific, but:

      (1) Learn the basic questions you should ask (everytime) you get an assignment — how long do you think this should take, when do you need it by, and what’s the billing number.
      (2) Try to get a general sense of what any case you’re on for significant periods of time is about. Also learn who opposing parties are, who the opposing lawyers are, who the major witnesses or experts are, etc.
      (3) Try to be as independent as possible in your work, but if you don’t know something, don’t just guess. Ask someone (another paralegal, an associate, or the partner, whomever is most appropriate). Also, google is your best friend. It can tell you what Rule blabbity blah of the local rules is before your partner can.
      (4) If doing doc review or otherwise involved significantly in the case — try as hard as you can to learn the facts cold, remember the important documents, and remember what is in depositions, etc. Since you’re not a lawyer, you can’t necessarily answer legal questions, but you’ll be amazed how many times you’ll be in a meeting or whatever and a partner will say…what did [blank] say, do, write? If you’ve got the knowledge (and can find the document to prove it), you’ll be the hero.

      Good luck!

    • I was a paralegal in DC Biglaw about 7-8 years ago. I made a point to dress like an associate–heels, pencil skirts, etc.–and I regret that. The clothes got ruined, and I ended up in some physical pain, because the fact is that my job was not similar, in terms of physical activity, to that of a lawyer. You may have a different experience, but I was on my feet almost all the time, and had to climb shelves, sit on floors, carry huge boxes, etc. all in a day’s work. (Lawyers may have had to do these things occasionally, but I did it all the time.) If I could do it again, I’d wear flats or very low heels and pants almost every day. I don’t think a blazer is necessary except for important occasions. You can look perfectly professional, but you also need to take care of your feet and back, and not waste money on the dressiest clothes that you will rip, stretch out, and stain.

      • Ooh…I do agree with this. Whenever I was on a doc review project, I always wore flats because of all the box carrying.

        • Yep! I was pretty much always either doing doc reviews or productions. :P

          I agree with all the more substantive advice that has shown up since I posted too. Good luck!

          • Makeup Junkie :

            Ditto this, especially if you’re going to be in trial prep. I spend a lot of time lugging boxes around, sitting on the floor arranging exhibits, running to the copy room (I am a lawyer). My office is business casual and I wear pants (spandex is key for all the lifting, bending, etc), comfortable flat shoes, and cardigans or sweaters. Some of my co-workers (also lawyers) just rock up to work in jeans or yoga pants, but you might want to see how others in your office dress during really busy periods.

    • I would get a couple of skirts and pairs of pants in neutral colors that you can switch off with various button front shirts (if that’s your thing) and some nice tees/cardigans. Depending on your current wardrobe, some of these may already be things you own. I think whatever you opt for will be fine so long as you keep in mind the following basics — try to avoid bare arms until you have a better feel for your office; don’t wear anything too low cut or too short; & don’t buy clothes that are too tight (your pants/skirts for work should not fit like your jeans).

      In terms of shoes, I don’t think heels necessarily make you look older. In fact, I see a lot of law student interns at my workplace that actually look younger in their heels, maybe because it just screams “trying too hard” to me. If you opt for heels, I would say make sure they are day heels, i.e., nothing you would wear to a bar at night — heel no higher than 3 inches, nothing too spiky, shiny, with chains, etc. I think a low heel or wedge is a cute compromise. Both more comfortable/practical and will look professional, too.

      For your first day, try to dress comfortably (shoes included) but also more formally as you will probably do a lot of walking around the office to meet people. Turn off your phone ringer. Bring a small memo pad & pen with you. Even if you don’t use it — I find that it’s helpful to write down various things while they are fresh in your mind as soon as you get a chance because first days can be overwhelming and you will forget lots. So for me, first chance I was alone, I would jot down stuff like “Loretta — Office Manager. Library is on the 4th fl. Sr. Partner’s secretary is named Inga, copy code is 776. . . . .” Whatever, you get the idea.

      Good luck! I am sure you will do great.

    • Congrats on the job! I think skirt or pants with a blouse or silk tee is totally fine. You’ll probably want a cardigan or blazer simply to keep warm (many offices are cold, year-round!), and you will need a suit if you’re going to court.

      Personally, I wear flats all the time, but I do think that heels can make you look more dressed up. I commute in flats, and think I would saw off my feet if I had to run from midtown to downtown in heels for a filing, so I think you should have both readily available. As for shoes, I keep a few pairs under my desk, but since the paralegal desks are open, you might want to consider keeping a few pairs in a desk drawer.

      Good luck with the new job!

    • I’ve been a paralegal for 2.5 years, and I can’t emphasize enough not to buy clothes before you start the job. At least in my firm, there’s a very strict hierarchy between secretary/assistant, paralegal, and lawyer, and I had a few awkward moments before I learned to dress to my station (sheath dress with a little jacket was too high, cotton flowered skirt with a cardigan was too low). I generally wear a black/grey/navy pencil or a-line skirt with a tee and cardigan or a blouse in the summer, and a sweater in the winter. I like 1-2 inch pumps that are comfortable enough to walk in, but still look more professional (IMHO) than flats. (I’m the one who keeps recommending the Nine West Oaks shoes). I keep my shoes in a drawer. I also have an emergency blazer in case I have to attend a conference and take notes for an attorney, which happens very occasionally. The only major piece of advice I’d offer is that if you’re working for multiple attorneys, even if they’re in the same section, the left hand often doesn’t know that the right hand just assigned you a major project due tomorrow, so it’s very important to communicate with your attorneys and always understand which project is the highest priority – don’t assume they know that you won’t have time to do this until the end of the week. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and clarify even small details of an assignment. Write down your attorneys quirks (attorney A likes all attachments sent in PDF form, attorney B likes corrections made in hard copy and checked before they’re made in the actual document, attorney C likes you to email daily with progress reports on a long term assignment). And don’t beat yourself up for mistakes – it took me about a year before I was able to anticipate needs and do things correctly the first time. Hope that helps!

    • I second all the advice about wardrobe, and I have one additional piece of advice that may be premature but one I wish I would have known when I was a paralegal: Keep a list of ALL of the matters that you work on! Include ALL of the parties and a brief summary of what was at issue. If you do end up going to law school and working in the legal field, you will need to know this for your conflicts check at your new employer, and it’s a pain to drag up the info 2, 3, 4, years or more later!

    • As far as shoes go, get a comfortable pair of flats to start, and then decide whether you can wear heels. Our paralegals are constantly on their feet, often lifting/moving heavy boxes or carrying a stack of files/red wells. Doing that in heels sounds very painful.

    • new corporette :

      So much advice! Thanks, everyone! I feel more confident now about my first day.

  14. Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

    Quick Threadjack: So this weekend I had a work event (pig roast) at a partner’s home. I ended up taking a nice bottle of wine with me and I picked up a thank you card when I bought the wine bag. My new question is this: can I simply hand the thank you card to the partner when I see him today or should I go ahead and mail it. I can see pros and cons to both options.

    Thanks in advance.

    • If the partner is married or has a significant other, definitely mail it (and address it to the couple). You need to thank both people for their hospitality, since you were in their home.

    • mail it ASAP

    • bibliophile :

      I say mail it. Just from a personal standpoint, I love getting real mail (i.e. not bills, advertisements, etc) in my mail box. So there’s that.

      There’s also the chance that in just handing him the note, it might lay around his office for a few days (or weeks) before making it home where both he and his SO can appreciate it.

    • mail it today! for all the reasons mentioned above, plus your partner may toss it on his desk and lose it. his wife/spouse is much more likely to see it if it arrives via the usual mail.

    • mail today.

    • Mail it if he’s married/partnered, because it should be addressed to both hosts, not just to the partner. If he’s single and was the only host, fine to give it to him at work, although I’d slide it in his mailbox instead of handing it to him.

    • mail it.

  15. It is hotter than anything today, so I opted for slacks, a short-sleeved blouse and low-heeled sandals (not just peep-toe, but actual stappy things). This outfit would ordinarily be fine on a day I wasn’t going to court or seeing clients.

    My boss just buzzed me and told me we’re going to Judge’s chambers on an emergency thing a little later this morning. I had to fess up that I wasn’t necessarily dressed for it. He said to come anyway since we’re going to be in chambers and not in court.

    I don’t have a blazer or different shoes, but at least I’m wearing pearls and have a cardigan to throw on. I will keep different shoes and a blazer at my office from now on. Lesson learned!

    • Incidentally, my strategy for today is to behave as though I am dressed appropriately. (That is, I won’t draw any attention to my outfit by way of apology or joke.) Right?

      • Walk in like you are wearing your best suit. Say nothing. Depending on where you are and how hot it is, the judge may not care that you are dressed how you are. Do not draw attention to yourself with a joke or apology. If the judge comments, sincerely apologize “I apologize, I was not aware I was going to be in court today. It won’t happen again.”

        • Fortunately, this judge is very reasonable and low-key. I doubt he’ll “dress me down” for my outfit. The whole thing is really my own insecurity and preference to be prepared and looking my best anytime I’m at the courthouse.

        • I agree. And really, it could be worse. It’s not like you’re wearing jeans and a tank or something. Good thing you left your lucite platforms and tube top at home ;)

      • This is dressed up for my court in the summer, even for in court appearances (we are totally out of the norm, I’ll admit–east coast beach town, seersucker and sandals abound) Chances are, the judge is just as hot and casual. They get to hide under those robes, after all. I know my judge takes advantage of that perk in the summer and wears less than “appropriate” attire.

        • I agree; at the court that I clerked in, this was perfectly normal courtroom wear for women in the summer.

      • anon-oh-no :

        borrow one from someone!

        • Only female associate at my small firm…would rather die than ask the only female partner.

          • I don’t know what area of the country you are in, but where I am you’d be fine even in court (not a trial). I don’t wear sandals to motion dockets and hearings, but when the temps are over a hundred, like they are now, I see other female attorneys who do. Really, when it’s this hot, I don’t think anyone cares, especially not for an in-chambers meeting.

      • Right, absolutely.

    • This is totally fine for a in-chambers meeting on a 90 degree day, IMO.

    • Anonymous :

      I ran into this problem once. Ever since that day, I keep a suit on the back of my door. I have used it several times when I had had to cover court appearances for my boss at the last minute, a client calls from court because he has forgotten to tell me about his arraignment, a secretary forgets to calendar a court appearance or a judge calls a chamber conference.

      • This is actually a requirement at my firm. Have at least a jacket, if not a full suit as a spare in your office at all times.

    • Anonymous :

      Clerk here, with “here” having a heat index of 115. We don’t care. It’s too hot to care. Besides, I’m dealing with parties in halter tops, daisy dukes, tube tops, etc., so all the lawyers look perfectly professional right now.

  16. Does anyone know what company has a crown logo? I saw this girl with a bright pink leather bag (big front slip pocket, tote with zip top), but can’t figure it out. Any corporettes have a suggestion? All google has turned up is Juicy which is not exactly the style I’m aiming for…

    • Todd Oldham, probably.

      • Anonymous :

        He was my favorite! I hoarded his jeans when the label went under ten years ago… pulled them on recently… the cut is still so flattering, but so passe… a few more years and I’ll try again, they’ll be just retro enough. He combined intelligent fun (color, color, color) with drop-dead flattery. Miss him. He’s all up in home goods now, good for him but sad for the wardrobe.

    • It sounds like a tote that might have come as a gift with purchase of the Vera Wang Princess perfume. The color scheme is pink/purple and has a crown logo.

    • Yes. Elaine Turner. Love her stuff!!!

    • Triumph (International) sells underwear where I live (long, long way away) and has a penchant for giveaways in neon pink / bright red with the signature narrow, four-pointed crown.

      I have similar bags from them – alas, nothing as fancy as leather!

    • Sounds like Baekgaard.

  17. Somebody was recently asking about a meal planning service that provided a grocery list. Today’s livingsocial coupon has such a service for $15: http://deals.livingsocial.com/deals/44813-six-months-of-meal-planning-services?msdc_id=235#

  18. What do you do when you’re at work and feeling sick, but not bad enough to go home? I have a headache, I’m very tired and I really need to lie down. I’m a summer associate in a cubicle, so I can’t lie down for even a minute, but I’m just not sick enough to go home. I took some advil and I’m drinking tea – any other suggestions? I’m really having trouble focusing on my work.

    Please don’t just tell me to go home; I don’t feel quite bad enough to do that and I am getting a little bit of work done. I will go home if I get worse.

    • Diana Barry :

      Take a walk outside if you can – sometimes that helps me when I’m feeling funny.

      If you really need to lie down, though, that is a sign that you ARE sick enough to go home, IMO. Take care of yourself! :)

    • I just keep sitting at my desk, trying to do a little here and there. Hopefully the Advil will kick in soon, and you’ll feel better. I figure if I can even bill a couple of hours, it’s better than going home and not doing anything. And at least I’m there if someone really needs me for something. That’s assuming it’s not anything contagious, then you’re better off going home.

    • Hmm… are you perhaps low on your normal caffeine intake? As a complete caffeine addict, I know I start getting headaches about mid-afternoon if I haven’t had my Diet Dr. Pepper for the day. Otherwise, drink a lot of water, and take a quick walk around the building or to go get a coffee or something. Could just be you’ve been staring at a computer screen too long.

    • When I’m suffering through a headache at work, I do little nagging tasks that don’t require much focus (entering time, organizing my files and note pads, sorting and deleting email, cite checking a brief, etc.). Take care of a few groundwork chores so that you can be more efficient later when you feel better.

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