Suit of the Week: Anne Klein

ANNE KLEIN SUIT Textured Belted Jacket DressFor busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

Happy Wednesday! I really like this beige textured suit dress on sale at Lord & Taylor. The collarless jacket looks chic — and like it would be a workhouse with a number of different outfits — while the dress looks like a great basic. I do wish L&T had a picture of the dress by itself… but what can you do. It was $320, but is marked to $150 (sizes 0-14). Try code BIG to take an extra 15% off regular items and 20% off sale and clearance. ANNE KLEIN SUIT Textured Belted Jacket Dress



  1. Caffeine Free Anti-Oxidant Serum? :

    Can anyone recommend a caffeine-free anti-oxidant serum? The one I use has green tea extract, which disqualifies it.


    • Makeup Junkie :

      I was going to recommend Avalon Vitamin C serum, but that’s got white tea.
      I’ve read about Silk Naturals Awesome Sauce recently but I haven’t tried it. There doesn’t seem to be any caffeine products in it though, and you can buy a sample. I might try it too.

    • Someone, mamabear I think, recently answered a question about tinted moisturizer by referring to beautypedia, which is affiliated with Paula’s Choice but reviews all brands. I’ve since become obsessed with it. The advanced search feature lets you search for a type of product and exclude particular ingredients. Might be worth a shot.

      • That was me a while back, but maybe mambear recommended it too. I find that site very useful. Thanks to that site I now use a retinol product I bought at the drugstore for $14 that, for me at least, actually works.

    • It looks like Fresh has two types of face serums that would be caffeine-free (the Soy one and the Umbrian Clay one). I use the Soy Facewash and adore it, but have not used the serum. But for my sensitive skin its the first face wash I’ve found that doesn’t irritate it.

    • Check out Eminence. They have lots.

    • Why is caffeine bad in serum?

      • Caffeine Free Anti-Oxidant Serum? :

        I don’t know that it is per se bad. But it interacts with some other health care issues going on for this person.

  2. The final word on zippers on dresses... :

    Saw this article today and thought about all the times we’ve discussed whether zippers on clothing are appropriate or suggestive:

    Link goes to the Daily Mail article discussing Prince Phillip’s latest comment….

    Love, PHX

    • Oh dear. Maybe she should have told him she’d be arrested when she kicked him in the balls if he tried.

      (But though I do hate the exposed zipper look, I’m not sure people should have to cut it out because skeezy old men can’t keep their mind out of the gutter. I’m sort of torn on that issue though, because the other side of the coin is that you shouldn’t wear something knowingly provocative in a formal or work setting. I’ll stick with thinking they’re not too attractive and go with that.)

  3. I love the cut but I think this color is not flattering unless you have darker skin. The cut is great though.

    • Associette :

      Agreed! This would look lovely on dark skin. I like the cut and the price point.

  4. Sydney Bristow :

    I finally got around to ordering business cards and just wanted to give a recommendation for zazzle dot com. I couldn’t really find a style I liked at (and was concerned about the quality) and I liked the style of the ones at Moo because they stood out a bit but they were too far from traditional for me to feel comfortable. The ones I got from Zazzle are somewhere in between, the quality is nice, and they shipped really quickly. I waited until there was a coupon code and paid about $17 with shipping for 500 cards. If anyone is looking to get some new cards, check out their site.

    For what it’s worth, I got the Monogram Attorney Business Cards by colourfuldesigns. I think it looks nice and is a little unique.

  5. I think this suit is gorgeous. I really like the color – it’s springy.

    • I TOTALY agree! I saw this same suit last week at LORD and Taylor. I was about to buy it! Now I will get it ON SALE!!!!!! Gosh, it is to bad I did NOT get the manageing partner’s aproval or the 20% of the FULL PRICE! FOOEY!

      I am NOT sure the nerdy guy is going to come here. Yay!!! He told the manageing partner he does NOT want to take a pay cut! How dumm is that?????? After all, there is NOT alot of good jobs out there, and I do NOT want to have to look to quickely for a General Council job before July b/c it is OUT of season.

      • Hey Ellen, have you considered the possibility that the nerdy guy might be looking for a girlfriend? If you got him to MARRY you, you probably wouldn’t even need a job anymore!

        Just a thought.

        • MaggieLizer :

          Agreed. NERDY guys make great Boyfriends because they appreciate you and respect women, unlike the manageing partner with his coffee breathe. Besides, Ellen, didn’t you want to get a Boyfriend over the summer, get MARRIED by Christmas and have a BABY by next summer?

  6. Ethical Dilemma :

    I have an ethical dilemma related to a job posting and would like some advice.

    I’ve been at my current consulting job for about 5 years, but know that I don’t want it to be my career and would like to leave within the next 2-3 years to go to a nonprofit or possibly the government. The current job has also paid for some of my graduate school expenses through their tuition reimbursement policy. If I leave anytime within the next year, I will owe them a fairly big chunk of change.

    I recently found a job posting that I’m very interested in (application deadline is this week). At first I thought, “why not apply? I have nothing to lose!” But now I’m wondering if it’s even ethical for me to apply when I know that (a) I’m not totally ready to leave my current job yet, even though I will probably be ready in another year or two, (b) it’s doubtful that they would pay me any kind of signing bonus to cover the money I would owe back to my current company, since it’s a nonprofit/quasi-governmental organization and I’m still fairly junior, and (c) I’d feel bad leaving my current job so soon after graduating when everyone has been so supportive of me while I’ve been in school part time for the last several years (this is really separate from the issue of owing them a bunch of money, which I’m also not so keen on because it would pretty much wipe out my non-retirement savings). I also expect a bit of a pay cut, or at best, my same salary, although I know I’ll be getting a raise and potentially a promotion in a few months if I stay here.

    So knowing all that, should I apply? Is it ethical for me to accept an interview (if I’m offered one) if I’m not even really ready to leave yet?

    I’d love to hear others’ experiences in interviewing when you’re not sure you’re ready for the next step.

    • You have to separate the “ethical” issue from the financial one.

      Ethically — you are an at will employee and your employer can (and will) lay you off whenever their little heart desires. You have no contract with them. There is no ethical reason you can’t apply for another job.

      Financially — you have to think about whether you can stomach the blow of paying back the tuition reimbursement and the lower wage at the new job. But that’s sort of putting the cart before the horse. Applying literally can’t hurt — and neither can interviewing. (Oh…and employers know that job interviews are as much about selling their job to YOU as it is about you selling yourself to them…you don’t have to be 100% committed to taking a job to apply to one.)

      Seriously, there are 0 ethical problems here.

      • I just wrote a whole post about how it was not unethical but may be immoral, depending upon the OP. It went into the abyss, however, by saying I’m posting too quickly (when I haven’t posted in hours). (Sorry, that keeps happening to me, no matter what computer I’m at, and often when I haven’t posted in days. /rant)

        Essentially, I’d suggest determining for yourself if you are comfortable with it. I personally would feel similarly hesitant and that it is potentially immoral. If you are doing it just to see what is out there and to get an idea for your future, I think you might see it as moral. I would feel badly about wasting the company/interviewer’s time, but then think about the fact that, a) you don’t consider it them wasting your time when they don’t select you (well, sometimes I do, but not for a typical situation!), b) interviews go both ways, and c) this is something that you need to find out.

        Ultimately, it is up to you morally, but I think it skates the line on the side of not immoral.

        Financially, it also seems wise to wait a few years, but I’d definitely say see what it out there now! Planning is a good thing!

        Also, keep in mind that they may contact your current company/boss if you don’t specify for them not to do so.

        • MissJackson :

          just FYI — if you get the “posting too quickly” thing, you can just click “refresh” and then “retry” (sometimes you have to do this multiple times) and your comment will eventually go through. Still annoying, but at least you don’t lose the comment.

          • Happens to me a lot, I always make sure to ‘copy’ my post before hitting send so that I can repaste it in case it gets lost in the ether. I do get that same error message a lot.

    • I don’t know that it’s unethical if there is a chance you would accept the position now and need to go through the interview process to get more information about the job/company and whether leaving your current position now might be an option.

      But as someone who is desperately applying for jobs to get out of one I miserably hate and contemplate quitting on a daily basis, please don’t apply for a job if you know you won’t take an offer from them right now under any circumstance. The rest of us are desperate for those interview spots!

      • Ethical Dilemma :

        Right, the ethical issue to me is whether it’s ok to waste the interviewer’s time if I’m not sure I would accept an offer. But I wouldn’t know for sure that I wouldn’t accept an offer unless I interview, because maybe they could assuage the financial situation and the place could be so kick-a$$ that collegial relationships be d*amned… I also don’t want to burn any bridges with the organization by not accepting an offer now if I’d be willing to just wait a year and apply then when they have another opening (that’s a lot of assumptions, I realize, but something I’ve considered).

        • If you don’t know for sure, then there is no issue with interviewing. That’s the best way to get info on the new position. You often can’t be sure until you meet the people/see the place/etc. whether the position will work for you.

          That being said, if this is a specific organization you do want to work for in 2 years, I would be careful about turning down their offer now.

        • If there is a chance you might accept an offer (assuming one were made), I think it’s totally fine to apply and interview.

          If you are 100% sure that you would not accept, it would be a very different story.

          When I was applying to colleges, I got accepted early action at my first choice but had started the application process at a few other schools for regular deadlines. My mom was determined to “get her money’s worth” and made me complete my applications. However, when one school called to schedule an interview, I told them quite frankly that I had been accepted to my dream school and did not want to waste their time and possibly take the opportunity away from someone for whom that was their dream school. Not surprisingly, I didn’t get into that school, but I’m okay with that.

        • As far as not wasting the interviewer’s time goes… A friend of mine applied with a consulting company a couple of years ago and was interviewed. She found out either during or immediately after the interview that the interviewer really had no position appropriate for her, but just wanted to meet her based on a rather obscure language she speaks that she listed in her resume.

          I see nothing immoral or unethical with applying and, if you get offered an interview, going on the interview.

          • But how did that make your friend feel about the interviewr and her company? You don’t want to leave that impression on an employer that you might be interested in working for down the line.

      • This!!! This coming from someone unemployed and applying for public service/non profit/government work.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Applying and interviewing doesn’t just exist so a company can decide if they want YOU (though it sometimes seems that way, in this economy!). It’s also there so you can evaluate the potential company and job – does the role suit you? does it pay what you want? is it a step up for you? etc etc.

      In other words – you don’t know what they’ll offer, til they offer it. You don’t know you won’t take it til you see what’s on the table. You may go for the interview and decide the job isn’t for you. You may even get an offer and decide the cons outweigh the pros. Neither of those things are unethical, though if you are offered the job and decline it, you’ll have to carefully phrase why so as not to burn bridges.

    • I think it’s ethical to apply, but to be honest, I’ve never heard of a non-profit giving tuition money or a signing bonus to anyone other than a very top officer.

    • karenpadi :

      If you aren’t ready to leave yet, I wouldn’t accept an interview. It sounds like you’ll be interested in a similar position with the same organization or a similar organization in a year or two.

      Interviews are expensive and time-consuming for an organization. If you accept the interview, and aren’t serious about the job, the interviewer will figure it out. The interviewer will not be impressed. This will come back to haunt you in a year or two when you are job hunting. Plus, if that person (or someone else who was in the organization) moves to another organization, the “fake” interview will haunt you at that organization too. In short, word will get around.

      Instead, if the position sounds interesting, contact the organization/contact person and ask for an informational interview. Explain your situation and that the job posting interested you. Ask about steps you can take now to position yourself in the running when a similar job opens up in a year or two.

    • I’m on the job hunt and interviewing against lots of people and I’d love it if more of them would take themselves out of the market so that I could get a bloody real job, gosh darn it.

      But I don’t think its unethical, or even really immoral, to apply for a job in this situation because lots of people find jobs and make changes in their lives when they least expect it. And I certainly wouldn’t expect other job applicants not to apply to jobs just to clear the path for me! I’m not one to normally say this (because I usually think its a little dumb) but NGDGTCO for gods sake!

      But, it sounds to me like switching jobs right now for you would be a fairly significant financial burden and you’re pretty torn about whether you want to do it at all. So you need to remember that this job isn’t the only job in the world and in one year or two years there will still be jobs around that won’t cause you to go into financial crisis for taking them. But the decision whether to apply should really be about YOU and where you’re at, and not some hypothetical problems you’re causing other people. (Except possibly the prospective employer if you would like to work there someday in the future.)

    • Ethical Dilemma :

      Thanks everyone for the insightful comments. You’re right that the financial and ethical considerations are different, though at the moment the former informs the latter. I’ve decided not to apply to this job posting mostly to avoid burning bridges, as some have mentioned. I do know that an interview is as much about them trying to impress me as vice versa, but I think that even if they really impressed me, I don’t think I could take the financial hit at the moment. So instead I’ll take some real time to clean up my resume, perhaps do some informational interviews, and just try to learn and grow as much as I can at my current position before I move on. In 10-12 months I’ll have just that much more experience to bring to my next job.

    • I don’t know if you’re current employer is a large company or a small one, but everyone I know (n=5 including me) who had employer-reimbursed tuition for grad school with a minimum post-reimbursment period was “released” from their obligation without having to repay the tuition. In my case, it was over one year from my last class and so it was only a year’s worth of reimbursement.

      In any case, my point is to not assume that you’ll have to pay back the reimbursed tuition but to ask. You’ve given value to the organization during the time you were in grad school and most companies aren’t punative. I think some of this is that – as anony says – you are employed “at will” and it is a two-way street.

  7. Most important comment of the day: I finally got around to registering with Pottermore! I am WildElm546 (narrowly beating out ChaserWatch8546, because I would totally be on the watch for Chasers if you know, Harry Potter was real and stuff). Who are you? I know there was a thread about this but I can’t find it anywhere…

    • I joined early, went on maybe two or three times, and forgot about it. I hope it is better now!!

    • Sweet as Soda Pop :

      AshFloo25527 – Worst Pottermore name ever, but apparently better than the other choices since this is what I ended up with… And, no surprise to me, I’m in Ravenclaw!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Oh, I’ll post my Pottermore name when I get home! I spent both Sunday afternoon, and Monday afternoon watching Deathly Hallows 1 & 2 back to back….. Now I am at work with my own real life Voldemort and Bellatrix….

    • HowlOwl701

    • GoldHolly8963 – I was legitimately nervous at the Sorting b/c I wanted to be a Ravenclaw!

  8. momentsofabsurdity :

    Thoughts on this suit from Ann Taylor? I like it a lot but I’m not sure if I’m being ridiculous and it’s really more ugly than pretty.

    • Former MidLevel :

      I like it. I saw it in the store and thought it was pretty, though the skirt may be a tad short for me.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Hmm. Maybe I’ll run by my local store to see if they have it in stock and try it on.

    • This one definitely falls into the I’d have to see it in person camp. And are you thinking about it as a whole suit? Because that would be a whole lotta look, as they say.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        Yeah it would but I need to expand my suit wardrobe a bit into a few more “fun” suits — I only have boring interview type suits. I think I could wear the skirt as a separate but not sure what I could pair the jacket with — maybe a white pencil skirt? I’d have to see it in person.

        • I actually own a sort of similar tweed summer suit from Ann Taylor, but in tan and not blue. I think its the blue (and the lack of buttons/collar) that might send it over the edge to too much. But could be worth a try on, certainly.

      • I kind of love it. I have a brown and orange large-textured tweed suit from Ann Taylor from about 5 years ago. It gets heavy rotation in the fall.

    • MissJackson :

      Saw “tweed” and thought, “I am going to love this!” And I actually like it even more than I expected! This is a rare instance where both pieces look good as separates AND as a full suit. I especially like the jacket.

      • MissJackson :

        Although I will echo that the shirt looks short so you may want to try on — it says 17.5″.

    • I actually kind of like it. It might be a bit much as a whole suit, but I could totally see wearing each piece separately, provided the jacket hits in the right place. I have a winter colored version of this skirt that I love and wear all the time.

    • I actually bought the skirt to this about a week ago (it is a smidgen on the short side, for those of you with more conservative requirements for skirts).

      What I’m not sure is apparent here is that (like so many pretty tweeds), there are metallic threads in it, so it sparkles a bit. I’m willing to live with that as separates, but I think it might be a bit much all together. Also, I sort of feel like it’s a bit “brighter” in person than it reads on the screen.

  9. Love! great color and price. How does AK run, size-wise? comparable to Calvin Klein?

  10. Transitions out of Law? :

    If you could do anything professionally, what would you do? I’m feeling kind of done with the law. I work in midlaw in a big city with a high COL. I’m doing more than fine financially, but every day is kind of a drag. I’m just not that happy with my job. I get frustrated because I’m at the point where there’s no forest, it’s just trees. And I don’t think there will ever be a forest. I’m very lucky to have no debt and because of this, I feel like I have an incredible amount of freedom that I don’t know what to do with. I feel no obligation to continue in the law.

    My undergrad is in Art History and Spanish, so in terms of marketable skills from that, I’m kind of close to zero. What would be your dream job, either law or otherwise (that you didn’t have to go back to school to attain)? I’m really interested in policy, anything international (law, development, planning, etc.), art, baking, architecture, and pretty much everything that isn’t law at this point. I would love something more creative than law. And super duper dream jobs are acceptable, as well as those that are more attainable. If you’re lucky enough to have your dream job, what is it? More immediately, how do you motivate yourself to do a job that brings you down?

    • HereThere :

      I met someone who got her JD and is now working for the government on a fellowship (forget the name, sorry) basically working with other countries on development and policy. She mentioned what she and a few others in her position do and it sounds amazing! It seems to be a field where a JD is highly recommended (almost required), yet you don’t deal with law itself (typically, one guy in her department that she mentioned did, but he was helping a developing country form its system).

      My dream job is in law, so not helpful for you, but this job sounds pretty amazing to me!

      Also: You have really varied interests. You should try starting a blog and seeing where it takes you, because they may develop into a sphere you hadn’t thought of but love.

      Finally, I’m currently in a job where I know my end date. I’ve been trying to slack off (and by that, I mean not go ridiculously above and beyond) and cannot. Today, however, I’m entirely unmotivated and have accomplished like ten things, maybe.

      • Transitions out of Law? :

        Wow, that job your friend has sounds really interesting! I’d never thought about the blog. I’ll look into that and try and see if I can come up with some kind of coherent narrative.

        What is your dream job? Like I said, I’m definitely not wedded to the law. I feel like 10 things is not that bad, although it is still early where I am.

        • HereThere :

          Sorry for the late reply. My dream job is working for a global company in house doing regulations, transactions, or something in that area. I’d be more specific, but it’s a rather specific goal. My other dream job is related but really, really specific – but that one might happen in the next ten years or so if I’m really lucky!

    • Solo Practitioner :

      I have two dream jobs that I daydream about when I’m thinking I might get disbarred:

      1) Being a private investigator. I work with investigators a lot in my law practice, and would love that job. There are many investigators employed by government agencies (child protection, public defenders, etc.) and they also do pretty awesome stuff.

      2) Being a tour guide or local guide at a museum or downtown visitor’s center in the tourist area where I live.

      • migraine Sufferer :

        When I was a kid, thanks to Matlock, I thought attorneys *were* investigators. I would also love an investigator position.

    • phillygirlruns :

      i am one of the few attorneys i know who actually likes being an attorney. that said, if i could maintain my current standard of living without needing my current salary to do it, i would love to be a dog walker. or own a gym/be a personal trainer.

      • My dream job would be Ambassador to Liechtenstein, but not sure how that is ever going to happen. I do like being an attorney. I think there are probably other legal areas that I would be happy to branch out into down the line in my career, e.g., maybe become a judge or do something more legislative.

        If I was not an attorney, and I was being realistic (i.e., not dreaming of obscure European principalities), I think I would want to either teach or write.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Fact: A friend of mine’s father is the Honorary Consul of Liechtenstein to the South and Southeastern United States. I don’t know if this is a paid position or what it actually involves, but it sounds awesome.

      • This. Dog walker, owning a gym, being a personal trainer. Definitely on my dream jobs-if-it-weren’t-for-the-money list.

        I totally feel Transitions’ pain – I feel the same way as a midlevel associate in big law in a big city. I appreciate that I now have no debt and some savings, but the job is a grind. Wish I had the chutzpah to do something else.

    • I would be a personal chef. I love, love to cook and bake, but would never in a million years want the stress of working in a restaurant.

    • I’d be an Anglican priest. I would have gone to seminary if I had realized this about myself before law school, but it’s not really feasible $150,000 in debt later.

      • Anonymous :

        So cool! You can still be a spiritual mentor and example. You go!

      • My sister-in-law is an Episcopal/Anglican priest. It seems like a wonderful career. It’s great for someone who really like nurturing others.

        You could always be a deacon in your local church, or a lay minister. You might start by serving on the Vestry (like an Episcopal church’s “board”).

        But yes, clergy are not highly paid. High spiritual fulfillment and opportunities for travel though!

        • Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m not called to the diaconate, which is a ministry that focuses on social concerns (and which also require a process similar to ordination, in any case-it’s kind of different than being a deacon in other Protestant denominations) but I’ve thought about standing for vestry. And I teach Sunday school, which I love!

    • Take the Foreign Service exam. It can’t hurt, right? And there are a lot of recovering lawyers in the diplomatic corps.

    • I like being a lawyer, but I had to do something else I think I would be a sommelier. I love wine. Another option would be a physical therapist…just because my physical therapist seems to love her job. I think part of it is the place she works is really cool and part of it is she has a lot in common with her clients since the clientele is focused almost purely on runners.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d probably be an interior decorator, or more likely have some sort of antiques and home decor shop. I like to reupholster and paint furniture that I find at junk stores.

    • My dream non-law job would be to open my own vintage store! And, since this is a fantasy, my store would do extremely well, enabling me to pay someone to stand behind the counter while I spend most of my time driving around the country to out of the way estate sales and snapping up beautiful pieces of vintage clothing!

      My other fantasy job would be to be a YA author or a journalist.

    • I would be a librarian, but that would require more school.

      • It’s not as bad as you might think. It’s fairly easy to get at least a half-tuition fellowship. I had a full-tuition fellowship and it took about a year and a half. If you’ve done another graduate degree, it’ll probably seem relatively easy. That said, there are many flavors of librarianship and I’m probably biased to academic librarianship – it’s awesome!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      I’m hoping that when my other half’s career picks up again and allows my to down size, I am doing 2 things – running a not for profit and making a run at the senior golf tour!

      • I have a dream job for me, used to do law and now I do strategy/policy at a large company on issues that I care about deeply. My pay and hours are good, not biglaw on either count and I’m happy with that. It took years and and planning to make the transition, but totally worth it (did a lot on the side, as well as reflecting on what I might like in terms of type of job, skill set, subject matter, employer- and moving cities to situate self where these things aligned).

  11. The Skirt question :

    For those of you who own The Skirt: have you tried washing it? I try to avoid buying clothes that need to be dry cleaned. Thanks!

    • MissJackson :

      The Skirt doesn’t really work for me (I just yesterday established that I am an “H” shape — thanks to whoever posted that link about body shapes — very helpful), but I bought a couple before I figured that out.

      Since it doesn’t work for me, I went ahead and tossed one in the wash and then laid flat to dry. It washed up great. I would definitely not pay to dry clean it.

    • I’ve washed them on delicate (and even dried them on the delicate cycle just a bit before lay flatting them to finish them off). No harm has come to them.

  12. Outfits for dating :

    You guys, I am running out of things to wear for my seemingly endless string of “first-date-when-you-immediately-know-it’s-going-nowhere” type of dates. Instead of getting too frustrated with the whole process of meeting new people (mostly online) and not finding a connection, I want to focus on building up a better first date wardrobe. (I am taking the advice of previous commenters to line up several different people each week so I don’t feel so disillusioned when Tuesday’s date was dull, because there’s always Wednesday’s date, etc.)

    So, here’s what I’m looking for in case anyone has ideas: I like to wear jeans on the first date but have only a handful of tops that work. I am looking for cute tops in the $30-$60 range. My coloring is fair (blonde, pale skin) so beige/white colors tend to make me look a bit washed out. I tend to like blue, purple, black, dark grey, green, etc., but open to new ideas. Nothing too crazy low cut, but not too boring either.

    Any ideas much appreciated!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      In my experience, Express is *great* for first date tops. The “wedge” tops tend to look great with jeans and look a bit dressier than a standard tee, while surprisingly not being overtly sexy. Also, they’re really comfy to change into after work and you can eat food on your date since you’re not painted in.

      I’ve got this, which I wear often on first dates with skinny jeans.

      • phillygirlruns :

        that’s a great top, especially for $30.

      • I love the look of this, but what do you do about a bra?

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          I wear a cami + regular bra under it — the back loses a bit of its effect, but still looks good but the shirt material is pretty thin so I’d be uncomfortable without a bra in it.

    • Get past the teenage ho clothes at H&M and check them out for fun, inexpensive tops. Also NY&Co, Limited, in some cases Old Navy. White House Black Market tends to be a bit pricier, but they have some nice stuff, too.

      I don’t know if I want to tell you about the cute tops I saw on the J Crew Factory site today…

    • karenpadi :

      Am I weird? I wear the same (or nearly the same) outfit for most first dates. Jeans, wedges, and a cute-ish shirt. I figure the guy hasn’t met me before o he doesn’t know that I wore nearly the same thing to my last first date.

      I like color too and I’ve had good luck at the Gap for tees.

      • Solo Practitioner :

        Ha! Perfect. I bought a new top for a first date with a guy about a year ago. We’re about to move in together. It worked. :)

      • Outfits for dating :

        Not weird at all – the last few weeks I’ve worn exactly the same outfit for the first date with a bunch of guys. The problem is when that outfit needs to be washed, or when I have a second or third date…I run out of options.

        I find that if I don’t spend too much time picking an outfit or putting on make-up, I don’t get so disappointed when the date is dull.

      • MaggieLizer :

        I’m starting to do this, too. I lose track of which outfits I’ve worn with which person, so I’ve started to have designated outfits for first, second, and third dates. Unless they’re after work; then I just wear whatever I wore to work.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        No. I have a first date outfit which makes me feel gorgeous and I wear on 90% of my first dates. It seems to be working since I’ve never not been asked on a second!

        Unfortunately, that means on weeks where there’s a lot of dates, I do a lot of laundry.

    • HereThere :

      Late, but I’d actually suggest places like TJMaxx. I find a ton of great tops/outfits there for a low price. You can get great quality for a small amount there, especially if it is something like a going out top.

      I always feel like the quality as some other places mentioned, like H&M, is so low that I worry about wearing/washing it too much or feel uncomfortable in it.

  13. Blackbird :

    Provided that this isn’t too white in person, this might be the perfect outfit for the woman officiating an outdoor summer wedding.

    • Oh yes, good call! And then she can wear it if she has conferences in Phoenix or whatever

  14. I’m blanking on a place to go on a first date. I’m really excited about the date and he is coming out to where I live, which is great. I don’t know where to go or what kind of food to have. Both of us are pretty adventurous eaters, but I don’t want to go to a hole in the wall with great food and would like to go somewhere we could linger if we want to. If feel like this kind of rules out sushi. Big city, tons of food choices of all budgets, no real food restrictions. Help? Why is this so hard today?

    • For first dates, what about somewhere where you have to use your hands, like Ethiopian or similar food. Gives you plenty to talk about, keeps you busy, and keeps everything from being too “serious.”

      Another idea is a tapas place where you get to order a selection, again because the food itself provides a source of conversation.

      The best places to linger though are those that somewhat specialize in dessert, because they expect you to order dessert and coffee and kind of hang. So if you know somewhere around like that, that might work too.

      • Ha, great minds think alike, obviously! I was about to suggest Ethiopian, too…

        • River Song :

          I love Ethiopian food. Except… there was this one place in DC where you could sit on tuffets–these little stuffed cushions–on the floor instead of on chairs, and they were really really hard to get up out of, especially if you were wearing heels and/or had had a few too many glasses of wine.

          Not that that ever happened to me.

    • What about tapas? Because you don’t order all at once, that lets you tailor the length of the date – if it’s going well, order another little dish, if not, call for the check.

      • You guys, Ethiopian is my favorite food ever. Unfortunately I’m already going to Ethiopian with a friend on Saturday. But tapas is a good call!

        • No rule about not having Ethiopian two nights in one week!

          • Actually, in Ethiopia its practically the rule. ;-) hahahaha. I’m so funny. Or slap-happy. One or the other.

          • Seriously. I love Ethiopian so much I befriended the owner/chef and she’s teaching me how to cook. (If anyone wants Ethiopian in LA, go to Meals by Genet. Plug over.) But uh…it would be the 6th time in 4 weeks. Hi, my name is oclg and I have a problem.

      • Maybe dim sum?

    • I have a first date with someone tomorrow and I am so nervous. I don’t have anything to wear but, he is picking the place luckily. I will keep you updated on where we go. Sounds like a similar combo to us.

      • I don’t have anything to wear either, but I know I do at the same time. I do have shoes picked out so hopefully I can find a shirt in my closet that match but aren’t too over the top. Good luck!

        • I want to text him just “please tell me if I need to wear a bra on this date” but I do not want to sound dirty. I know that I have nothing to wear. I hate all my clothes. I am going shopping tonight. I pretty much am going to revolve around the boobs. So I need a shirt and then I will pick the shoes after that.

          • Okay…I have to ask. How would you NOT have to wear a bra on the date? I mean, don’t you always wear a bra? I’m so confused…is this some kind of code I’m not getting?

          • Agreed. It would be quite scandalous and dangerous if I were to be in public without a bra!

          • Wait, what?

            Also, I’m guessing that if you ask him if you need to wear a bra, his answer will be something on the order of “No way, baby, not if you don’t want to!” *wink *wink *smirk

          • MaggieLizer :

            Please wear a bra. Even if you are small up top, restaurants and such can be… erm… cold. And don’t stress over what to wear, the guy won’t really care anyway, and buying a new outfit for The Big Date will just add to your nervousness. Just wear something you’re comfortable in.

          • I have a nice halter top from cache and there is no way I could wear a bra with it. But it looks pretty good.

        • Good luck to you too ;)

    • If you’re in San Fran, I recommend You never know what they’re making till you show up.

      • I wish. When I hear about these things I’m so sad I left the bay area. I wish I knew about/these things existed in SoCal.

  15. Talbots suiting question :

    Does anyone have any experience with Talbots’ Cotton Tricotine suits?

    I am looking for impressions as to how it feels, wears, etc.

    It’s online only, otherwise I’d go to the store and look at it myself.

    Thx, PHX

  16. Diana Barry :

    Hey ladies!

    I went shopping today with the baby and got perfume samples at sephora (yay!) a few (huge, boo) pairs of shorts at old navy and a dress that I can nurse in and also hides my baby pooch! I also went to nordstrom and got a couple of pairs of yummie tummie panties since I am feeling so fat all the time. Sigh. It’s only been 3.5 weeks, I shouldn’t worry, right?

    Also, to whoever posted about wills drafting in Boston, I can’t find the post! I am still happy to do them if you post your email for me. :)

    • Women are so hard on themselves after having babies! Your body changes with pregnancy and 3.5 weeks is nothing! I’m sure you look great! If it makes you feel any better, I bought a dress at Old Navy to hide my burrito pooch!

      • Seconded. And I’m totally in favour of buying at least a few items that fit the body you have now so you aren’t self consious or physically uncomfortable in your too small pre-preg clothes.

        Also, something that isn’t talked about much is the fact that sometimes pregnancy can change your actual shape. My ribcage was larger for a few years after having babies. It was wierd. Sometimes your hips change too. So, if you don’t fit back in your pre preg clothes, don’t worry.

        Pregnancy really does wacky things to a woman’s body!

    • Diana, I’m impressed you’re leaving the house 3.5 weeks post-baby. Let along buying clothes and worrying about your tummy! So no, don’t worry! Just enjoy your little munchkin and get lots of cuddle time in!!! And sleep whenever you can of course. :-)

    • Yay!!! Congrats on the baby!!!! Your post made me so happy for you.

    • I missed where you posted that you had the baby, though I know you were getting close! CONGRATS! And you just birthed a baby human, please be kind to yourself and get something fun to celebrate a BABY! (Sorry for the Ellen caps, but this IS something to celebrate, don’t be hard on yourself that your body is a different shape. Though I realize that’s much easier said than done.)

  17. The dress is 37.5 inches. Would this be knee length? I’m 5’7″.

    • Measure a dress you own (lay it flat (or hang it up) and place one end of the measuring tape at the shoulder seam and measure to the hem. If you like the length of your existing dress and it measures the same as the dress you are contemplating, you’re probably good.

    • Marie Curie :

      It is on me and I’m the same height. But yeah, best to measure an existing dress.

  18. Any tips on dealing with an extremely difficult coworker during a stressful time? This coworker (senior to me) seems to nitpick everything that I do, barks orders at me, is generally really rude and obxnoxious, is a workaholic so doesn’t respect personal time, etc. Sometimes I think it’s personal, but I know a lot of other people feel this way too. Basically, he is the number one source of dissatisfaction for me at my job. And I can’t *not* work with him. A lot of the time I can avoid him, but now is not one of those times. Knowing that I have to interact with him makes me miserable, and I’m about to go on a business trip with him. Thoughts on coping strategies?

    • karenpadi :

      I’m not great at coping with this stuff so here goes:

      For nitpicking: make him feel that you appreciate his “contribution”. I’ve turned a few nit-pickers into laid-back reviewers with a few sincere “thank yous”.

      For barking orders: try to communicate in email or in writing. Otherwise, try using the “mirror effect” to your advantage. When he speaks loudly, speak quietly (he should instinctively mirror your quiet voice).

      Rude and obnoxious: Point out the behavior: “That’s a really condescending thing to say.”

      Workaholic: don’t answer your phone or email during personal time (unless it’s an expected call/email).

  19. Not crazy about the belt on this. It looks a bit crude.

  20. Anonymous :

    I don’t know how you all handle wrap dresses but last night, when I went out and sat down for dinner with my friends, the wrapped part sort of unwrapped and displayed my spanx and huge thighs. My friends pretended not seeing it, but I am sure they now know why I like I must be super clumsy but I am never wearing a wrap dress again.

    And every single time I think of the incident, I feel like jumping off… still picking a place… may be Brooklyn bridge? :(

    • I’m sure it was hardly noticeable to anyone but you. And even if they did see, your friends love you! Instead of criticizing your body, I’m sure they were feeling embarrassed on your behalf for the momentary flashing – or thinking of their own embarrassing moments (tucking pantyhose into a skirt, bra that can be seen through a sheer top, etc.).

      Invest in a faux-wrap dress if you like the look but want to play it safe! :)

    • don’t let it bother you- if your friends really noticed they didn’t care! I think this happens to everyone; I usually safety pin the skirt halfway down if I remember.

    • Beach Bar :

      I promise you, it is *nowhere* near as bad as you are making it out to be. First, if they are your friends, they shouldn’t care what they saw. Second, who doesn’t wear Spanx and have body imperfections? Even teensy Selena Gomez has flashed her Spanx to a large audience!

      I know it’s natural to obsess over something embarrassing you think you did, but you are wasting so much mental energy on something that your friends probably don’t even remember. There are times I cringe at a socially awkward move I made *years* ago, and I have to remind myself that no one else remembered it beyond that day, let alone for years. It actually makes it worse to dwell on it, because then you act awkwardly the next time you see these people and because they don’t remember the event, they can’t figure out why you’re acting so weird and just start to think you *are* weird.

      If it helps you get over that “they all saw but are pretending they didn’t” awkward feeling, maybe you could make a joke next time something clumsy or awkward happens to clear the air and move on? In this case, something like “well friends, now that you’ve seen the goods, you’re obligated to buy my dinner!”

    • Look on the bright side – at least you had spanx on! ;)

      But seriously – I echo the other ladies. You are thinking about this way more than your friends are. But I do have a tip – wear a slip over the spanks. Not a tight slip, just a regular slip to offer more coverage with those pesty wraps.

    • Anon for this because it still embarrasses me :

      Psh, that’s nothing. I once accidentally flashed a couple of my friends while we were playing catch in a swimming pool. My bikini top was a bandeau and I reached too high, too fast.

    • Even if they noticed (which is a big if), I highly doubt they would care or think anything of it (they probably wear ’em too). The great thing about friends is that you shouldn’t have to worry about what they think – they love you, spanx and all!

    • Oh, honey, that’s so far from being the worst accidental self-exposure I’ve done. Sooooo far. Your friends do not care about your thighs! I swear.

    • I once wore a dress that buttoned down the front to a wedding, and in the middle of the dancing, it popped unbuttoned all the way from neckline to navel.

      Thank G*d it was a conservative Jewish wedding and the men and women were dancing separately, so I only flashed the ladies.

      • Ok, you have my sympathy because that sounds really embarassing, but it’s also hilarious! I just stifled a guffaw to avoid being overheard in the deposition down the hall. Were you dancing really exuberantly, or were the buttons just not good?

        • It was both, I think. The wedding had been going on for a long time so everyone was *quite* tipsy and happy and thus the dancing was getting pretty vigorous (I caught a glimpse, over in the men’s area, of the rabbi stripped down to his undershirt and raising the roof). But the buttons were also those little round pearl ones, you know? They’re not up to heavy duties…

          • Ah, I do know the buttons you mean. Still, if I could be spared the embarassment of it, I would hope someday to dance so enthusiastically that my clothes popped off.

      • Last Christmas eve, I pulled up behind the church and stopped to say hello to my SO before parking and he sweetly pointed out to me that my shirt had come unbuttoned and my girls were on display. Luckily he was the only one who saw!

    • migraine Sufferer :

      The other day I was at an event in a tighter dress and couldn’t figure out why so many people were talking about babies with me. When I got home I saw in the mirror that I had the look of “could be pregnant but not enough to ask yet.” F*ck it. At least no one did ask. *That* would have been embarrassing- for them!

    • Anonymous :

      You guys are my rocks :) thank you so much for all the nice words. I DO feel lot less miserable. I mean LOT LESS. :)

  21. Question for the hive. I just purchased a high end bag for work and it has a thin leather hangtag the same color of the bag with a silver quarter size medallion imprinted with the designer’s name (Italian designer, not one that would be readily identifiable) hanging from it. Do I leave it on or take it off? Normally I take off the hangtags because they drive me crazy and I think it’s weird to leave them on, but in this case I’m at a loss because of the overall quality of the bag, the detail that seems to have gone into the hangtag, and my inexperience. Help please!

    • The rule of thumb is always take off the hang tags.

    • downstream :

      whatever you feel comfortable with. It’s your bag and if you want the hangtag, keep it on. If not, take it off. If you do choose to take it off but still want to use it, it could be a nice keychain.

  22. Metaphysical :

    Somewhat weird question ahead:

    When I moved into my condo in 2008, there was a Chinese decoration hanging on the doorknob of the bedroom. It is a red rope, knotted with 2 bells. (Links to pictures to follow.) There is also a jade figurine hanging there, on a necklace. I am not Chinese. But I left both items on the doorknob, hoping they would lead to good fortune or luck.

    Well, they have. I feel like I’ve been lucky in love and in business since I moved there.

    I am now moving in with my boyfriend. If these little talismans have been bringing me good fortune, I would like that fortune to continue. I’m thinking of them kind of like a baseball player’s lucky socks or some other good luck charm. I don’t know how they work, but if it’s working, I would like it to continue.

    So here’s the question: Do you think the good fortune would continue if I left them where they are, or brought them with me and hung them on my new bedroom door? Or are they traditionally hung somewhere else?

    I would love to know the traditional Chinese use of this sort of decoration. What other good luck talismans do you ladies use?

    • Metaphysical :

      The decoration looks something like a combination of these:


    • Seattleite :

      I am not Chinese.

      My own personal theory is that you have used up all your good luck with that talisman, and must pass it along. It will refill with good luck enroute.

      So….send it to me, I’ll test your theory and mine, and post the results.


    • I think you should leave it in the apartment. It was left there for you and brought you great luck! Someone left it there for you and I think you should leave it for the next person :)

    • I have absolutely NO idea, but I bet the fang shui travels with the apartment and location and not the bell. I’d pay it forward to the next residents. You’ve gotten your good fortune! Now go enjoy it.

    • I am Chinese. Red string and bells are often used in feng shui to align the chi of a place to bring the resident luck. However, like TCFKAG says, these charms are generally placed in accordance with the specific apartment. However, I have to say, most feng shui adjustment charms that I know of are not hung on doorknobs, so this sounds more like just a decoration left behind by the former resident.

      I think there is 2 ways you can go about this: (1) if you think the luck is with the apartment, then I would leave the charm for a pay-it-forward, hoping for good return karma strategy, or (2) if you think the luck is just with the charm, you might as well take it with you. But now that you are kinda sorta swayed into ancient Chinese superstitions, you can always read up on feng shui and adjust the chi in your new apartment accordingly.

      • Oh, PS, there are MANY schools of feng shui, so if you actually start looking into this, don’t get too overwhelmed.

      • Woah, my guess out of left field was right. Go me.

    • If I recall correctly (and there is a huge possibility that I do not), when a Jewish person leaves her house, she is supposed to leave behind the mezzuzah on the front door. Maybe you should analogize and leave the Chinese talismen (plural of talisman?).

  23. anyone else infuriated by the tone and writing of this article?
    so the author’s friends in her unscientific survey are “liberated women” who give up financial control and literacy when they partner up with a man because math is haaaaaard and booooooring. so what? my completely unscientific anecdotal survey of my female liberated women friends would show the opposite. why is this newsworthy?
    as a former avid reader and lover of nyt, i’m with you ladies who have beeen lamenting its downward spiral of late.

    • “makes her husband pay her cell phone bill” ? What? This is…. ugh.

    • Um…do I lose my liberated woman card if I admit that I let my husband keep track of the finances because I DO think its boring? I mean — I could do it, its not hard, I just don’t want to.

      • I highly recommend Lois Frankel’s follow-up to NGDGTCO, “Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich.” It’s about making sure women are financially literate, and not depending on men to run their finances.

        This article is ridiculous. “He’s minister of finance, and I’m minister of culture and entertainment.”? Wow.

        • But I AM financially literate and have a say in all major financial decisions. I just don’t want to have to deal with Quicken. Is that good enough? Can I have my card back now???

          • There’s no rule that you have to use Quicken. But the book’s thesis is that you should know the content/data/info that’s in Quicken, even if the dude in your life inputs it.

          • Oh good. My liberated woman card is securely in my pocket than. :-)

      • THis is me. I’m an accountant & deal with numbers all day. Dh pays the bills. We go over the budget at regular intervals, and we share the deciion on any big items. I’m in charge of investments since I have more knowledge & experience in that area. But the reason he’s in charge of the monthly stuff is not because math is hard & boring for me!

    • I hate this! Wow, so bad. Really insulting and based on anecdotal evidence that says more about her group of friends than it does women in general.

    • I have a friend like this. She got locked out of online banking because she couldn’t remember her password, and then just never called the bank to fix it. I was floored.

      I am the complete opposite – I control the finances in my marriage. It was really hard for either of us to contemplate giving up control of our money (and the primary reason we didn’t merge finances for a while), but in the end it made sense for me to control it. Although in keeping with the article, I do spend a lot more “joint” money on myself than he does.

    • My DH makes investments for a living, so why shouldn’t he make ours. But we consider money sitting in either person’s bank account as “ours” and keep everything open.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      It didn’t bother me that much. Originally my husband and I had joint everything but separate emergency credit cards. Now we each have a small checking account that we put a set sum in each month for our personal purchases.

      I sometimes wonder about the same things they described in the article. Should I get more because I have to spend way more than him for a haircut plus I have to spend *my* money on skin care and make up that he doesn’t have to worry about?

      Our general rule has been if it is purchased at the grocery store or drug store it comes from the joint account but if it is purchased elsewhere – it is a personal purchase.

      All utilities, including cell phone, come from the joint account. He keeps a much more meticulous budget then I do. I check our account and make sure there is more coming in than there is going out. I couldn’t say off the top of my head though exactly what my cell phone bill cost is. I’m not an ostrich but I’m not fanatical about every penny either.

    • Sort of related is this article from Slate from last year. Not having ever been in a relationship serious enough to even discuss pooling money, I thought it was interesting. It raises some questions that have come up here with regard to money, for example if you have kids and separate accounts with a small joint one for household and family expenses, is therapy for post partum depression a personal expense?

      This article makes me mad, though. There’s really no excuse for not knowing the rate on your mortgage or your online banking password. Spending/saving discussions really need to be done before marriage. If you feel vulnerable in your finances, because of voluntarily not being involved, that is not good. Educate yourself.

    • Amelia Bedelia :

      I honestly do not see the issue. My husband and I do everything from a joint account. So “his” money pays for my designer shoes and “my” money pays for his ridiculous sports wear (seriously – that stuff gets expensive!).
      I assure he he does not have any idea what our mortgage rate is, or our money market rate, or our (nonexistent) chequing rate. No one is screaming that he gave up his liberated man card! Some marriages work well when one person takes “control” over a specific aspect. It does not have to be that way, but what is the harm if it is?

      • I think the problem with the article was that, instead of quoting women who would have said something intelligent about division of labor/chores within a marriage based on strengths/preferences/etc., they interviewed women who essentially all said some variation of “Tee hee, money is hard!” while twirling their hair.

        • Amelia Bedelia :

          good point. I definitely feel annoying at that one.

        • That’s exactly what I was annoyed at, which I didn’t really express well. I don’t have a problem with how any couple or family decides to divvy up their finances or who’s in charge of the accounting, etc. Even if I did, that’s really none of my business. It’s the tone of article that annoyed me, which [email protected]:05 described much better than I did.

      • “No one is screaming that he gave up his liberated man card!”
        Ex. Act. Ly. yeah, the Times is really starting to get on my nerves, a few years ago, they wouldn’t have considered this ‘journalism.’

        • This is why I’ve stopped reading anything in the NYT that has even a wiff of the “Look we found one person so its a trend” articles. They are almost universally intolerable (I’ve now read this one and its no exception). I try not to get worked up about them though, because they’re too stupid for me to waste my time on.

    • Okay…I haven’t read the article yet. But there has to be a distinction between pooling resources and going to joint everything (yay! so much simpler) and giving up decision-making and knowledge authority. Like — I would want to know before my husband decided to make any major purchases or invested any major money or anything. The same goes for him to me.

      Just because one person is in charge of administration (writing the checks) doesn’t mean they’re in charge of the executive decisions. I guess that’s the distinction right?

    • I hate dealing with finances, and so when I was married, my ex-h did all of it. Only afterwards, when I started taking things over, did I realize that he never paid bills on time (when I called to figure out why the gas company had suddenly required a $200 deposit from us). NEVER! And he was in private equity! He dealt with money for a living!

      I still hate it, but as I’m now an Army of One, it’s up to me, and I’m teaching myself not to feel stressed about it.

    • downstream :

      I control most of the finances because my husband is incapable of doing so. This annoys me – he expects someone else to do everything for him because he’s too lazy to figure out how to do it himself and, guess what, he has a smart wife to handle it for him. That husband who forgot to cancel his gym membership when he changed cities? Could totally be my husband. So, the grass is always greener.

  24. Another Sarah :

    Threadjack – how do you be nice?

    I’ve been told, multiple times now, that I have a strong personality and that people don’t really feel like they can approach me, and that I have to be more of a “team player” and get the team together to “really believe” in my projects.

    I have no idea what this means or how to go about doing it. I’ve asked, and been told, “You’re almost doing it and you’ve made progress!” but I have no idea what that means. I’m always polite and generally pleasant, say please and thank you. In the past few months, I’ve adapted my hardness learned from law school to be less direct in emails (which I was explicitly told to do because people got offended) and to smile and be more pleasant generally. Apparently it’s not enough. I don’t really know what to do, since I’m kinda overwhelmed with work and so I don’t stay to chat with my coworkers or do more than say “Hi, good morning!” when I see them come in in the morning. It doesn’t help that the whole “bringing people together to really believe in my projects” thing makes me want to barf, since I don’t really “believe in my projects” to begin with and sometimes make fun of the people who do (yay cynicism). I don’t know how much of this is just first-job-issues that will work themselves out vs. how much is “this isn’t working for me,” which doesn’t help. Any advice and/or pointers? Thanks!!

    • So, you are probably never going to be one of those women who people talk about and just sigh and say “oh ____, she’s so pleasant.” And that’s fine. There are lots of successful woman who, frankly, aren’t like that.

      But you do have to get to the point with your colleagues that they can stand to be around you. :-P I’d start by trying to learn at least one-two semi-personal things about each person you work with frequently (kids names, type of books they read, television they like, whatever). If you are not the type to remember this sort of thing, or if it doesn’t come naturally to you, start a spreadsheet. Then try to remember to talk to them about those things when you see them, or if you see an article that reminds you of one of those things, send it along and say “Hey — this reminded me of you.” Because the key is that most people don’t want you to be friendly to them about *work* per se — they want to feel like you recognize them as people. This is also, by the way, good practice as you grow up and have to network to get clients or other jobs or whatever.

      I know this advice may seem strange because I really haven’t mentioned much about legal work yet, but seriously, you don’t have to become besties with your colleagues but they will buy into you more as a professional if they have some sense of you as a person. In terms of the work itself, remember to try to explain *why* you’re doing something to people (rather than just the *what*) and yes, be more informal in your dealings with them. And even if you think what you’re doing is stupid, remember that you’re all on the same side, so don’t treat them like the enemy (especially the staff, who can actually make your life much better if you’re nice to them).

      So…you may never be Elle Woods…but with a little effort you can probably win them over to your team. Even if you think your team is stupid (oh, and by the way, if you talked to them you might discover that some of them think your team is stupid too).

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Sounds like they are trying to tell you to act more like a girl. That’s annoying. I would have a hard time not rolling my eyes and saying “would you like me to poop rainbows too??”

      • Anonymous :

        Or more like a salesperson, man or woman. We’re all selling something. She needs to sell it better to succeed. Salespeople keep spreadsheets, cheatsheets, rolodexes w notes on people etc as above. Sell it, think of t as part of the job, because it is. You gotta get along to get ahead. You don,t have to mean it.

    • Have you read Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office? There are lots of tips in there on how to interact with business associates without coming off as threatening.

      Sometimes it’s things outside of your control that are making this impression.

      I had a co-worker who was like 6′ and had a thick stature. She tended to get worked up when she talked about things, and would lean forward towards people she was talking to. It was actually really intimidating. If a smaller person would have said the exact same thing, with the same gestures, they would not have seemed so scary as she was. She also never interacted with anyone outside the office, when lots of the other attorneys would go to coffee, lunch, drinks, etc.

      I think she would have been perceived as more down-to-earth, and therefore less scary, if she would have toned down her speaking voice, and have spent some time with the rest of the members of the office.

      “Chatting” with the rest of the office really does make a difference. It builds relationships. It’s an office politics issue – if people like you, they are more willing to support your work projects and be on your team.

    • What stuck out to me was “hardness learned from law school” In my experience that “hardness” people learned was really just being rude. I’m frequently described as “a force of nature” and “strong personality” but in a good way, not a bad way. I don’t think they want you to be more girly, it sounds like they just want you to be more human.

      • Another Sarah :

        The “hardness learned from law school” was more “not taking things personally because the other person has no social skills and may not have meant it personally but because they have no filter didn’t think before they said it.” :-)

        • downstream :

          I don’t understand how losing this “hardness” translates into being a more pleasant person…it seems like letting things roll off one’s back would make one easier to deal with.

        • You said you had to lose this hardness because people were offended by your emails though.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Been there; it sounds like you’re aware of two big things – tone in emails and greeting people in the hall – which is probably what the “progress” comment is about (that comment creeped me out, btw). When you go to a meeting, do you start by getting right down to business? Try to remind yourself to ask about their weekend/day/dog/whatever is before you start talking about work. You might consider making notes in Outlook or wherever about the last personal conversation you had – did they mention their kid’s soccer game, or their dog had knee surgery, or their MIL is visiting? It’s hard to get used to, but if you keep reminding yourself and get in the habit it will become easier over time.

    • Another Sarah :

      Thanks all for your advice so far – I definitely appreciate it!

      Just a bit of background – I’m an attorney, but not working in law, and I’m one of the only Americans in my office. My office is pretty small. Where the “team spirit” thing came in was that yesterday my boss told me he wanted to send me on a project management/team building training because he said I needed it. I asked him why he thought that, since I honestly thought everything was good – people work with me, we all do our part, it’s on time and done well, etc (what more can I ask?). He said people don’t “feel part of my projects” and I need to motivate them to really adopt my projects as their own. I do tell them why, and I definitely frame it as “make more money with the time you already spend! Yay!” Sooo…what else do I need to do? I’m so confused…

      FWIW, when we’re all not working, like during lunch or when we all go out after work on a Friday, things are super. We’re all sincerely friendly with each other, the guys I work with almost insisted on helping me move (and were kind of offended when I told them I had already hired movers), etc. :-)

      • Go to the training. Learning to motivate subordinates is actually not a skill that comes naturally and why turn down a professional development opportunity.

        But in the short term, the thing that always makes me feel most a part of a “team” is when my boss tells me why they’re giving me an assignment (as in how it fits into the bigger picture of the case/project) rather than just laying out the assignment without context. And remember to give positive feedback when deserved and to try to give helpful critiques! Subordinates cherish both, I find.

      • SpaceMountain :

        Sounds like a leadership issue, not a niceness issue. You might want to seek out more training on leadership. Consider it being groomed to be a leader, and learning how to manage other people. This could be more of a motivation issue, not really anything to do with being nice. Maybe check out some of the management books by Jim Collins, “Good to Great” et al.

      • Is there some other cultural thing going on that you might be missing? When I lived abroad, I had to learn to speak more softly, be more deferential, etc. based on culture. After a year of living there, I found other Americans loud and offensive, so it might just be a cultural divide thing. (Now that I’m back in the US, I’m just as loud and assertive as ever).

    • Anon in ATX :

      What about trying to give compliments to people? I find complimenting someone’s nail polish/cute top/shoes/whatever is a great way to break the ice/be friendly without getting too personal. Of course, it has to be sincere, & you can’t overdo it, but I find it often leads into good “office chat” with a coworker and helps build up a “relationship” with that person.

  25. I think my boyfriend of 3.5 years and I are getting ready to end things but we are both too scared. I think it’s definitely time to end things – we both really want different things in life. I’m just not sure where I will go from here, as our lives our totally entangled, i.e., I have none of my own friends, we spend all of our time together, etc. Just wanted to vent.

    • sorry for your troubles. :(

    • I feel your pain. My marriage of 5 years just ended and I felt the same way. You take it one day at a time. After we seperated, I spent a few months either being at work or home on the couch. It finally dawned on me new friends weren’t going to appear at my door, so I dragged myself to a networking function. I found out an attorney acquiantence is also recently divorced-we are helping each other with our new found single lives. I am very slowly now filling my social calendar with things other than tv and Netflix.

    • Start un-entangling ASAP. If you have any sort of joint finances, authorized credit card user, etc., stop using them. Make an effort tonight and this weekend to do something without your bf. Go to the gym alone, contact an old friend, volunteer, join a book club, whatever. Start getting used to time without him. Encourage him to do the same. It’s time to remember who you are without him around.

      Honestly, if it is a mutual “moving apart” it’s not a bad idea to take a long walk in a semi-public place and talk about it. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I think we’re moving in different directions, but I’m not ready yet and too scared to say goodbye.”

    • Seattleite :

      I’m sorry.

      Be very kind to yourself. Eat nourishing, high-quality food. Get lots of sleep, and lots of pedicures/massages.

      In time, especially since you want such different things, you will see this as ‘liberation’ rather than ‘adrift.’

    • So sorry. It is tough to go through. I was in your shoes a long time ago. It will take a little while to bounce back from the break up, but you will see you will find new friends and new things to do. The unknown can be scary, but if things are not working out, it would be sad to waste your life just because of fear of the unknown future. Put aside what isn’t good. You’ll make room for something better.

    • untangling as we speak :

      I am dealing with this very issue right now except we have broken up already. It is painful, but I know it is a lot better than sticking it out any longer and dealing with the aftermath later when it will be even worse. I’m still in the sad stage, but I’m trying to reconnect with old friends, go to my favorite exercise classes I have been neglecting, and reading trashy novels (Shades of Grey, anyone?!). I have also been trying to set up activities in the future to keep me going ie my parents are coming this weekend, in two weeks I’m going to go to NY, ect. I just keep repeating “this too shall pass.” You can do it!

    • I am sorry you are going through this, r. I know what it means when people want different things in life. At the end of the day, that may be the best decision for both of you. It sounds like (although I may be reading too much into your answer) things are not hostile between the two of you. If this is the case, and if you remain amicable, it probably won’t be that hard to keep in touch with some of the same friends.

    • If you want a friendly drink in the LA area, holler.

    • Also anon :

      Sorry to hear this. I am going through the same thing and it’s so, so hard. In particular a few months on, when you start to miss the person (or miss the companionship/intimacy) and start second-guessing it (at least that’s what I’m doing). No words of advice, just know that you’re not the only one going through this. I feel like I not only lost my boyfriend, I lost my best friend.

      • Thanks so much to everyone for their kind words. This really hit the nail on the head because he is my best friend, not just my boyfriend. It’s so sad, but in the end, I know it will be for the best. We are definitely amicable, but we are growing apart and really starting to come to terms with things we’ve known for quite some time.

  26. Law Firm Woes For Women :

    Although this is not a new problem, I thought it would be interesting to get thoughts from “the hive.” I am new associate (graduated law school last year, started in September). I work in a large regional firm in a mid-sized city. Since I have started here, there seems to be a mass exodus of women from the firm – everyone from junior associates to partners. At least 6 (out of maybe 20 total) have left in the past year. I know this is the way of the world and an old problem (many of these women are leaving for more flexible hours because of children), but I am very concerned about my future at the firm. We basically have no women left…a couple of associates (maybe 5 or 6) and a few much older partners (3 or 4) who have been here forever. My firm has over 250 lawyers. After working here for the past months, I think the lack of women is due to the fact that the firm simply does not value things that make many women successful. My firm literally sees things only in terms of numbers and does the bare minimum to satisfy diversity requirements without really taking the issue seriously. Does anyone have any new insights on this age old dilemma? As a young woman who feels uncomfortable with this environment, what should/can I do? And finally, how can I find a more female-friendly (or maybe a more progressive, open-minded) place to work in the future?

    • I don’t know how, specifically and practically, this will help you, but it might be interesting for you to read some of the resources from the San Francisco Bar Association’s “No Glass Ceiling” initiative. In particular, there are commitment forms for law firms to sign (to promise that they will make significant steps toward developing and keeping women attorneys) to sign and for corporate legal departments to sign (to promise that they will send their legal work only to firms who make these commitments. It might help to know you are not alone. It might also help to be able to say “do this!” when someone at your firm inevitably tells you “well, what should we do about it if women just want to leave?”

  27. Anon in the Midwest :

    So, here’s a somewhat goofy question, but it relates to expectations for support staff. Any idea what is a reasonable amount of time for retyping a few pages of densely worded text? In my estimation, things are taking a lot longer for my (somewhat new) admin to complete than I’d expect them to. However, it’s been awhile since I’ve done some of the tasks I’m delegating, so I’m not sure if my time expectations are reasonable. Any estimates? Just trying to keep my expectations realistic. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • Another Sarah :

      I type 90 wpm, and it takes me about 40 mins to type 5 pages, 1.5-spaced, depending on what it is. But I’ve also learned my expectations are a bit unreasonable (see above).

      • Anon in the Midwest :

        Thanks, Another Sarah. At least I’m not alone in expecting it not to take all afternoon to retype a short document!
        I read your question and the responses above, and though “a lot of this applies to me, too.” Good discussion.

  28. Seventh Sister :

    Preschoolers and classes. As a lot of you in corporette-land are WOHMs, I’m hoping to get some perspective on the whole thing.

    My daughter is 4, and while some of her friends are starting to take dance classes, t-ball, soccer, etc., she is completely uninterested in the idea of taking a class of any kind.

    She goes to a lovely preschool/daycare setup on weekdays (I work full-time). They do a lot of music time, singing, story time, art projects, etc. I don’t feel like she’s missing out on the enrichment she would get if we went to mommy-and-me-type music or art classes.

    On the weekends, we do some errands, some lying around the house, and some things like the park or the museum or a party. She goes to Sunday School for about 45 minutes a week (they pull the kids out for the bulk of the service), which she likes OK.

    We did baby swim class on Saturdays for two summers, but I loathed it and skipped it last summer.

    I’ve really tried to talk up the idea, especially for ballet and swimming classes. She loves dancing around, but tells me “I don’t need to take ballet! So-and-so showed me all the ballet moves!” I’ve asked if she wants to take swim classes, or even go to the pool with Mommy (no babies allowed). No dice.

    I worry that she has overheard my griping about helicopter parents whose kids are in classes every day of the week, but she hears me gripe about her horrible princess movies and still wants to watch them every day of the week.

    We don’t have a pool, so I’m not inclined to push swimming purely for safety reasons. My professional dancer brother-in-law says there is no need to do ballet lessons at this age, even in the unlikely event that she wants to be a professional ballet dancer.

    Am I a slacker? Is she a slacker? Can I please stop worrying now?

    • I’m not a mom but I would recommend swimming for safety reasons, even if you personally don’t have a pool. If she were invited to someone else’s house who has a pool, you’d be worried sick if she can’t swim. I remember hating swimming lessons at the YMCA when I was a kid but ultimately, I’m glad I learned how to really swim. As for the other stuff, no opinion.

      • Also, it’s way better to learn to swim at that age (even if she hates it), than to put it off. I hated swimming when I was little and my parents let me drop out of my lessons, and as a result I didn’t really learn until middle school, which ended up being really embarrassing (and I’m still a weak swimmer to this day). Even if she hates it, I think it’s better to just do it now.

    • You are not a slacker. She is not a slacker. She is 4 years old. At some point it will be good for her to know how to swim. At some point she will probably get interested in something and she will take you up on your suggestion of lessons. But for now just let her be 4.

    • Diana Barry :

      Swimming is important for safety, and the longer you put it off the less she will want to do it. I make my 4yo do ballet and swimming – ballet bc she liked it last year, and swimming bc she needs to learn. If she pitches a fit, we still go to class and she likes it once she gets there. :)

  29. anony m. ous :

    So I work at a startup as one of the founders/first employees. We are starting a financing round. There are only four of us (A-round), three older (like 50+) males and myself (25, female, not going to stop traffic any time soon, but reasonably attractive). Part of my draw for investors, I’ve been told, is that I will inject a bit of that youthful-fun-startup-facebook-esque into the corporate culture so it doesn’t look like “a company of old fogeys.”

    The men will be wearing suits to these meetings. I ought to be as well. However, it was subtly (not so subtly?) suggested to me that my suits not be too boring-interview-esque, but rather be fun, young and (this wasn’t said, but it was the message I got) it wouldn’t be so bad if they made me look like I’ve got it going on, so to speak.

    Any suggestions on suits that will project power/confidence/let me still be taken seriously (I will play a major and senior role in this startup) but still project a youthful and (hate to say it but) sexy vibe?

    I already feel like I am setting women’s rights back a decade or two, so don’t lecture me! I am embarrassed enough. FWIW, I think the guys that I work with do absolutely respect me as a contributing member of the team, but, since we are essentially heading out to investors with our palms out, want me to use what they see as another “asset” we’ve got.

    • anony m. ous :

      Should add – we are not in Silicon Valley (conservative East Coast) so showing up in ripped jeans to our investor meetings with “I’m CEO bitch” cards to project our youthful fun vibe is not an option :)

    • How to youth-up a suit? I’d add color. Colorful top, or even a print tee. Heels in a fun color, maybe even peep-toes? Fun jewelry.

      But this kind of rubs me the wrong way. I think it’s a slippery slope to being viewed as an asset by virtue of just being attractive. Make sure what you wear does not show cleavage, and does not hug your hips/backside tightly. Otherwise you will not be known as the *smart* young woman on the team.

      Also, I suggest Tina Fey’s book and NGDGTCO.

      • anony m. ous :

        The slippery slope thing exactly. I’m afraid if I use my femininity/youth here, I’m devaluing myself – but I like the suggestions below to try and embrace “sexy in a powerful woman way” as opposed to “sexy at the club” way. We have a startup culture and live in jeans, so I don’t have a large repertoire of suits already.

        I’ve read NGDGTCO and I will check out Tina Fey’s book. Thanks!

    • I think this is the perfect occasion for a white pantsuit, tall heels, and something silky and bright colored. Chunky necklace & watch, nice bag. S*xy but in a powerful woman sense rather than trophy wife sense.

      What you are doing sounds like so much fun! Enjoy!

      • anony m. ous :

        Thank you so much! I really like the idea of sexy powerful business exec vs sexy 25 year old out on the town — that gives me some good ideas. Would love store suggestions as well!

      • Makeup Junkie :

        And then get reimbursed from the company account for your fabulous new white suit

    • Anonymous :

      look feminine. Look youthful. Do not look sexy. Sell the company, not yourself.

      So, stand out with style, not physique. Hide the goods.

      Color, slim cut, no skin.

      Then, be your charming, go-getting self.

      • anony m. ous :

        Definitely what I want – style, not showing off the girls (TBH, I don’t do this in day to day life and would feel and act decidedly uncomfortable with investors in a micromini or majorly cleavage baring shirt.

        Color is a great idea. Sexy was the implication of what my coworkers were asking – but they may be conflating attractive/young/feminine with sexy. I don’t know.

    • Sheryl Sandberg :

      I think you should make your partners watch SS’s TED “don’t leave before you leave” lecture. They will think that the suit and shoes and jewelry she wears are what they want you to wear. You will tell them how much it costs (if I recall correctly, it is couture) and that in order to dress as they suggest for all your various meetings with potential investors, you will need their personal Amex cards.

      • anony m. ous :

        Ha! I wish! Especially because I’m going to be trying to buy at least a couple of these suits/separates (can I be in separates if the men are in suits?) on a pre-funding startup budget, aka, very little.

      • Sheryl Sandberg :

        Or maybe you should have them read this:

  30. This is late so I will repost tomorrow, but strange question on word choice.

    I am working on a project on IT policies in various countries in the Americas. I wish that English had the equivalent word of “United Statesian” (like Mexican, Argentine, Brazilian, etc.) because I can’t refer to it as America/American without being unclear. I feel like a lot of my sentences sound stilted so that I can keep saying “US policies” or “the US economy” rather than the colloquial “American policies” or “American economy.” Is there another word?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      No good solutions but if you are writing in Spanish apparently you can use the equivalent of “United Statesian!”

      • estadounidense? didn’t click on the link…but I think that’s where you’re going….

        • Definitely the word in Spanish. I wish I could use estadounidense in a document in English. It is really unfortunate that we don’t have this word in English at all. Makes things so much easier and fair.

    • my high school history teacher used to actually use United Statesian, I think he was basically trying to coin it. I wish it had worked. ;o) i agree with you, but I don’t know of a word. I do assiduously avoid using American when I mean US, though, but i have to do what you do, rearranging sentences/phrases to make it grammatically correct. Not a perfect solution, but works for me cause I hate the “American” thing (and my Canadian friends, *really* hate it).

      • Equity's Darling :

        I won’t speak for all Canadians, but I will confirm that this particular Canadian really dislikes “American”.

    • Marie Curie :

      I’ve seen USian around, but I guess I wouldn’t use it in official documents because it looks weird.

    • In German, it’s “US-Amerikaner.” I’ve also seen German speakers write “US American” when writing in English. Maybe that’s an option here?
      However, I think just using “US” as an adjective is fine and not as stilted as you think.

  31. LilacWine :

    Vaguely related: Has anyone else seen Escada’s semi-new “Essentials” line?

    I went into the Escada store today and discovered this line. It’s all basic suiting gear (pants, pencil skirts, blazers) in a couple of basic colors (navy, black, gray, pinstripe). The best part is that they have priced it at an affordable level because, according to the clerk, they are trying to attract younger women with lower budgets to the brand. The even better part is that all the pieces are currently on sale for 60% off. I got two pencil skirts for $120 each (originally 295). The quality seems pretty good – slightly less fancy than the normal Escada stuff, but definitely better than J. Crew/Banana who retail price around the same level.

  32. For Associette, who wanted studies: – “Healthy lifestyle habits are associated with a significant decrease in mortality regardless of baseline body mass index” – “These studies show that one third to two thirds of dieters regain more weight than they lost on their diets, and these studies likely underestimate the extent to which dieting is counterproductive because of several methodological problems, all of which bias the studies toward showing successful weight loss maintenance. In addition, the studies do not provide consistent evidence that dieting results in significant health improvements, regardless of weight change. In sum, there is little support for the notion that diets lead to lasting weight loss or health benefits.” – “as many as 40% of women and 24% of men are trying to lose weight at any given time; many have tried a variety of methods, such as diets, exercise, behavior modification, and drugs. In controlled settings, participants who remain in weight loss programs usually lose approximately 10% of their weight. However, one third to two thirds of the weight is regained within 1 year, and almost all is regained within 5 years.”

    • Makeup Junkie :

      Ugh. I’m a former fatty and I’m approaching the 5-year anniversary of reaching my goal weight and it’s creeping back on. I need to get off the internet and get to bed.

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