Suit of the Week: Michael Kors

For 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. 

I think this gawgeous tweed jacquard suit from Michael Kors is the picture of elegance. I love this dark navy and white pattern, and I think the cropped shrunken blazer is amazing. The jacket (Tweed Jacquard Jacket) is $1,450 and the coordinating dress (Wool Jacquard Dress), which is also really elegant, is $1,395.

Here’s a more affordable option and a plus-size alternative.



  1. Henrietta Duval :

    Oooh! I love Michael Kors and this suit. My only issue is that $1395 is a wee bit high for me to pay. I wonder if there is any opportunity for me to get some kind of financial assistance from his company. I am sure this can only cost about $200 to produce, if that much. If I can show them that I only earn $38,000 per year, does anyone think I can get financial aid from the company? I can pay about $300.

    • You have 2 probelems. First, you are working for the wrong place, and second, your manageing partner should be giving you a clotheing allowance, NOT Michael Kors. Ask your boss for a stipend or clotheing allowance, which work’s to subsidize your clotheing bill. And, if he does NOT want to do that, tell him that you will consider other law firms that DO give clotheing allowances. It is DEDUCTIBLE for taxes. My manageing partner want’s me to look good in court so he is willing to pay for it through a DEDUCTIBLE clotheing allowance. YAY!!!

  2. ethics... :

    Readers with Hill experience… I am so appalled by what is going on with Jason Chaffetz threatening the Office of Goverment Ethics. However, I’m not sure how to express my opinions so that it will do any good. My congressional rep is a Democrat, very solidly left. Does calling her office do anything? I don’t think anyone is going to listen to her. My two senators are hard right …. am happy to call them but don’t think they would have any inflence over the House. Any ideas? TIA!

    • Hill staffer :

      Call them all.

      The person I work for is very solidly left, and we always appreciate hearing what people are concerned about. So much happens on a daily basis on Capitol Hill, and it can be hard for us to know sometimes which issues are resonating outside the Beltway. Maybe your rep can’t do anything, but maybe she can.

      In terms of “influence” over the House, some of that depends on who your Senators are, how senior they are, whether they know Jason Chaffetz, etc. But call them anyway! I think that a lot of Republicans right now are trying to figure out which issues to challenge Trump on and which to let slide. I also get the impression from Republican staffers that I know that they’re listening carefully to what their constituents want them to challenge Trump and his allies on.

      • Midwestern Constitutent :

        Hey, Hill Staffer, would you happen to know why my request for White House tour tickets was denied? I made the request a week ago, and my Senator responded this afternoon, saying that the new administration “is not currently accepting tour requests, and they have yet to establish a system for congressionally reserved tours for constituents.”
        This seems very weird to me. The system shouldn’t change just because there’s a different person in the chair, right? It’s not like I expect to see the daily business of the place. Just the historic stuff, like Thomas Jefferson’s tea set.
        TL;DR- does each new president have to set up a system for issuing White House tours? Google hasn’t been helpful, but if anyone here knows where I should look, please let me know.

        • Wildkitten :

          The system can change whenever it wants. I think it changed part way into the Obama term to be significantly more organized that it was under Bush but it took a few months or maybe a year for the new system to be set up. I suspect Trump hasn’t told the tour office that he wants to keep it the same or if he wants to change it. I mean, did you see what he said to the DC National Guard? He’s firing the head at 12:01 on Friday in the middle of the biggest security operation they run.

        • Wildkitten :

        • Anonymous :

          Trump’s breaking with a whole lot of traditions that other presidents have upheld.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Like class. And intelligence. And responsibility. And knowing how to read.

        • full of ideas :

          I’ve been told that tours require having a sponsor in the government vouch for you – they weren’t letting the general public request tours

          • Wildkitten :

            That’s why she was going through her Senator.

          • Midwestern Constituent :

            Well, thanks. I guess I’m just wondering if this is a regular thing, something to be expected when there’s a transition, or if this is a symptom of something more serious. I can try asking again in a month or so. Maybe I’ll have more luck then. And if I don’t, then it would probably be time to worry.

  3. How much do nonprofit attorneys make? I’m thinking about making the switch from biglaw to a nonprofit. I know there will be a big paycut but I’m having a hard time finding information about just how big that paycut will be. Any nonprofit attorneys out there want to volunteer their salaries and how many years out of law school you are? I would really appreciate it!

    • What kind of nonprofit, and what market?

    • Legal Aid :

      46K, graduated in June. Work in legal aid in an HCOL area. Our salaries haven’t increased since 2014; before that, I think the last time they increased was pre-recession.

      4-5 years is 53, 9-10 years is 63.

      • Anonymous :

        what are your benefits like?

        esp. re
        health ins (you and cost of adding spouse/family)
        anything else of significance

        • Anonymous :

          One nonprofit gave a 401K with a 2% match from date of hire (yay) and 100% paid health/dental for you + 1. We got something like $50K life insurance with the group. All federal holidays. 3 weeks paid vacation with the week between Christmas and NY off due to the office being closed.

          My current nonprofit has a 403b with a 3% match after 2 years of employment. There’s a lot of turnover. Health/dental is 90% paid for you, you +1, or a family. We can opt into a FSA. We similarly have $50Kish group life insurance while I’m employed here. 4 weeks of paid vacation, up to 5 weeks after 1 year. All the federal holidays paid. 1 sick day/month.

      • Legal Aid :

        Our employer pays our health insurance premiums each month; it gets to be pretty unsustainable if you’re adding a family (and we’ve lost people because of that). We have multiple plans to choose from, with varying deductibles and HSA/HRA. We get FSA dollars each year from our employer (2K?) and 2K/year for law school loans. Our dental/vision/long term care/etc costs are minimal. Some of them are covered, some of them aren’t.

        We have life insurance available; our company covers a certain limit and we can add on top of that.

        403b….we have one? I haven’t dealt with it yet, I’m still pretty new.

        • Legal Aid :

          Vacation increases in availability per year as you work here longer; 2 weeks to begin with, with 2 personal days and a sick day per month. We have a sick bank and an okay work from home policy. After 10 years (?) there’s a paid sabbatical offered for a month that you have to take sometime between the beginning of your 10th and 11th year.

        • Anonymous :

          Make sure to enroll in the 403b if you’re eligible and they’re doing an employer match. Its free money! If they match 2% of your salary, you are giving yourself a 2% raise for saving a little, which you probably won’t notice in your biweekly/monthly take home pay.

    • Anonymous :

      In NC, staff attorneys at my former nonprofit made $40K to start, maxing out at $52K. Now in MA, its $45K to start, maxing out at $76K.

    • How about NYC. Any guesses for a small non profit (~20-30 employees, 4 attys total). I’d be interested in what an atty salary would be — for someone with 5-6 yrs biglaw experience and/or ~10 yrs total experience. Looked at a form 990 and the legal director appears to make 110-130k; and it seems like the highest salary paid to anyone is about 140k — and that’s for 1-2 folks in development. Thoughts?

      • Anonymous :

        My friends in legal aid, and a children’s law nonprofit, with similar backgrounds have started at about $60-70K in NYC. Starting in Boston is about $55K.

        Disregard what development, Executive Director, legal director, managing attorneys make.

        My suggestion is volunteer for legal aid’s pro bono project. They generally have a project where you can take on some pro bono cases and see if you like the work. Many BigLaw attorneys don’t. They don’t want to do bankruptcies or divorce people. The cases aren’t interesting and drag out for months (especially family law). You need a certain patience to work with indigent clients who are coming to you in crisis. They may show up with a court date in 2 weeks, or even tomorrow, and you’ll feel frustrated they didn’t come to you sooner. I highly recommend volunteering before even applying at a nonprofit law firm or a nonprofit advertising a staff attorney position. It’ll show you’re serious, and you will get a taste for the work.

        • Legal Aid :

          I agree with this. It’s difficult work- I volunteered with legal aid all through law school, and even now, after working for about 5 months, I’m realizing that it may not be something I want to stay in forever. The pressure (in any area of law, not just family law, although family law is its own he*l) is immense, and you have clients who often have, as an example: PTSD, an active DV situation, no driver license or ability to take public transportation because they have three kids under 3 and it takes three busses to get to you, and also, they have an eviction hearing TOMORROW. You have to really be able to prioritize, respect your clients’ wishes (even though sometimes I really want them to prioritize issues differently, my clients know their lives the best and I have to respect that), and be comfortable with that you’re not going to be able to fix everything.

          It’s a whole different beast, as far as I can tell, than any other type of law. Make sure you can do it before you go into nonprofit work, because you have to be committed to being all in (and then able to totally shut that off when you go home- still something I’m working on).

          • Anonymous :

            I hear you! I did this throughout law school and volunteering prior to it. I really found it frustrating that so many problems weren’t legal problems and weren’t even fixable. Clients are grownups (usually) and you have to totally respect their personal autonomy over their lives. I listened to my inner voice and found that I am much happier just dealing with numbers and making a donation. It’s such valuable work, but psychologically, I need to work on something where I seem to move the rock up the mountain and not feel like a hamster on a wheel. I thought I’d just be an emotionally spent shell if I kept it up and not even a good advocate.

    • Legal Aid Lawyer :

      I’m in a market where biglaw starts around $110k. Legal Aid programs start around $45k and max at about $70k for staff attorneys.

      I second that you should volunteer or take some pro bono cases to see if this kind of work is really for you. It’s one of the only situations where you can get a glimpse of what your day today would be without actually taking the job.

      You can also look for “unrestricted” programs. They tend not to take the typical bread-and-butter legal aid type of cases, but instead do more systemic advocacy. Same pay scales.

  4. Anonymous :

    I enjoyed the following title from a news story yesterday: ‘Sassy Zuckerberg touts Facebook’s power to defend Oculus’

    That said, would they ever call a female CEO sassy? Not sure if I hope so, or hope not.

  5. This dress (and a question) :

    I love this outfit (my wallet is have the vapors though). I have a Q re the dress. Every one says to buy sleeveless and they layer with a blouse / turtleneck for winter. But if you do that, I think that the jacket then looks weird.

    How do you do this well?

    My casual dressing style is to throw on layers until I’m warm, but I don’t think that you get underlayer + sleeveless dress + jacket. Maybe you pick either underlayer or jacket with a sleeveless dress?


    • I think that the underlayer + jacket is weird, too. If I don’t expect to take off the jacket, I often wear a long sleeved undershirt under the dress (I cut the neck area out of a couple so that they could be worn with different necklines) when it’s cold. But that’s only if it will be entirely covered up.

    • Anonymous :

      I agree. This isn’t a dress for warmth. I think it would look bad with a shirt underneath because you potentially would see the line where the shirt ends at your waist. Generally the clothes featured here aren’t for cold weather climates. Yes, I get you could wear a wrap or scarf over this suit to keep warm, but then you’re covering up $1500 of beauty.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I find that such a weird notion – most of us do not practice outdoors. I wear my suits that have sleeveless sheaths all winter in the office and then put on my coat, scarf and gloves to go outside…in Canada.

    • Just a personal opinion, but I think a blouse or turtleneck under a sleeveless dress always looks weird and frumpy. (Assuming you can see the underlayer).

    • Delta Dawn :

      Just laughed out loud at “my wallet is having the vapors.” Ha!

    • I think you don’t layer under this thing unless it’s a super smooth hidden layer. I would add a warm scarf for a chilly office, like a tissue weight pashmina that you can either wear as a decorative scarf around your neck, or untie and wrap around your shoulders like a shawl (which I do all the time in chilly meeting rooms and I’m professional as f–k so don’t even go there.)

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        My theory is that it’s much more unprofessional to be sitting on your hands and visibly miserably freezing than it is to wear a pashmina. Rock it.

  6. Any recommendations for a real estate attorney in Southern California (particularly those who specialize in residential real estate or landlord/tenant law)? Thanks in advance!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Where in Southern California? What is your issue? Unlawful detainer?

      • Orange County. We need to break our lease and are running into some issues with our landlord, so I’d like to get a better sense of what the law is in our situation.

        • Senior Attorney :

          I don’t know anybody in Orange County, but David Mans in Pasadena is a good friend of mine and does landlord-tenant law. Maybe he could help or at least refer you to somebody more local. If you want to email me at seniorattorney1 at gmail I’ll give you my name so you can drop it.

    • OCAssociate :

      I’m in Orange County and my firm does real estate matters – email me at ocassociate at the gmail and I should be able to find you someone.

  7. How to deal :

    with a coworker with anger issues? He is in the habit of slamming his palms down loudly on his desk; crumpling papers loudly; huffing and puffing; getting up and pacing around the room. These are all for really petty reasons, but even for big-deal problems, I’d still find this inappropriate.

    None of these outbursts have been directed at me, but we share an open office space and it’s really distracting and makes me uncomfortable. On one or two occasions I’ve actually been a little scared. We have the same job title but I am slightly more senior.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I’m sorry, that sounds terrible. I tend to react really strongly to that kind of thing due to prior experiences with angry and abusive men, so I don’t have great advice, but know that I’m thinking of you. What a crappy work environment.

    • Anonymous :

      Yesterday I recommended Feminist Fight Club by Jessica Bennett to someone else as it has a few scripts for standing up for yourself. Not sure if it deals with this kind of things directly (just starting reading).

      Maybe try Ask a Manager as well.

      Definitely document (email to yourself) any times you feel scared by his actions.

    • This might be a personality thing but could you express annoyance and say, “I’m on the phone, could you keep it down? Thanks”. He may not even know that his outbursts disturb others. Also, maybe discuss the issue with your manager and have him/her broach the subject with him.

    • One of my colleagues at my last job came into my office and kicked my trash can, hard. It startled me. I said, “Hey! That’s not appropriate behavior!”

      Then he told me about the awful thing that had just happened to him, and it truly was awful, so I said, “kick it again.”

      Maybe your coworker wants you to ask what’s wrong.

      • I have tried this whenever he has an outburst. He just answers “Petty Thing happened,” and keeps doing it. Today after an outburst he actually brought up again how upset he was by the Petty Thing, and I told him, “Well, my read on it is that it isn’t really a big deal. But, [suggestion] could be a way to keep that from happening again.”

        • Ok then just tell him to knock it off. Really. “Dude, cool it with the outbursts. That’s not professional behavior and it tends to startle me when you do it.”

      • Not OP’s job to be a psychic mind reader. Coworker should grow the f up.

    • This is 100% in the territory of HR and your manager, and I would not try to deal with someone who has loud angry outbursts about small matters 1-on-1 at all. Not worth it. Clearly this guy has limited coping skills, and I wouldn’t personally want to be on the receiving end of an outburst or subject to his ongoing lack of coping skills. Steer clear–have someone else manage this.

      If your workplace is too small for HR, speak with a manager. Explain why this is unprofessional and disruptive behavior. Explain that you have a fear of anyone, male or female, having outbursts like this due to an incident in the past, and you hope that they will understand and work with Outburst Man to correct the behavior.

  8. Might need to post this on the afternoon thread, but I’ll try now: any of you rent out your homes via AirBNB? I’m looking for tips and tricks to get started. I’ve stayed in AirBNBs before but never been a host. Our family is seriously considering the purchase of a lake house and we can definitely pay for it w/o renting it out, but it’s in a spot that’s frequented by Chicago summer vacationers so I’m certainly considering AirBNB’ing it down the road, once we get it the way we want it. I do know that I have to be aware of different tax/insurance issues if we’re using the home as a short-term rental property. Would appreciate any and all stories!

    • Anonymous :

      You won’t qualify for traditional homeowners insurance if you’re having short-term rentals. That is terrifying to me as a both a property owner and a vacation-taker. I have no idea how many people go bare for coverage, but that is an insane risk to take, esp. on a lake house.

      • Anonymous :

        Agree that no insurance is a big risk but I don’t see where OP was indicating that they would go without? I took it as OP saying they know they may have to get different insurance for a rental vs. personal property.

        If the property doesn’t have a basement or good attic, ‘d suggest a small shed on the property to store personal items that you don’t want renters to use but also would like to have on hand for your own use. You may want separate sheets/towels for example. Don’t put personal family photos on the walls. Get to know your neighbors so they will alert you if anything isn’t above board. Ask around to find out if there is a professional property management company that takes care of these kind of rentals – you’ll lose a percentage of the rentals but it will be very useful to have someone to organize letting renters or cleaners in or address onsite issues when you’re at work.

    • Ellen Griswold :

      Hit me up at ellen griswold is on vacation (all one word) at the mail with a G and I’ll happily share all the deets about my experience renting my primary residence on weekends.

  9. CPA Lady paging Travel :

    Another thought for the Travel poster from this morning– my dad was a complete absentee parent (like, I can count on two hands the time we spent one on one in my entire life)– and we never took a SINGLE vacation together as a family. No trips to big cities. No trips to visit relatives. No trips to national parks. All of it was just my mom, my sister, and me. The only time we all traveled to the same place at the same time was when we went out of state for my sister’s college graduation.

    My mom was so independent and it was so inspiring. It sucked that my dad didn’t want to be involved in our lives, but I thought it was great that my mom never let that hold her back from taking the trips she wanted. I’m not afraid to do what I want by myself partly because of her. So, if you do end up going on some trips with your kid(s) without your husband, good things can come out of that too.

    • Anonymous :

      +1. My parents both like to travel and we took a lot of family vacations, but my mom let my dad take me on some father-daughter trips when I was growing up because he and I did not spend as much time together as she and I did (she was SAHM, he worked a demanding job outside the home). Those trips are some of my fondest memories with my dad. My husband and I don’t have kids yet, but when we do, we plan to do some mom & kid trips and some dad & kid trips as well as family vacations and trips as a couple without the kids.

    • Thanks CPA and Anon. Solo parent travel isn’t something my family ever did so interesting idea. Will have to have a discussion about his willingness to alternate picking locations or going along to a location I want at least occasionally and maybe I can fill other travel time with other travel partners.

    • Meg March :

      Ah, did not think about this aspect earlier. My mom was a teacher, my dad owned his own business. So my mom was off with us all summer/winter/spring breaks, and so we mostly traveled with her. We mostly did road trips/camping, so it didn’t come to mind earlier.

      • I’m not opposed to road trips/camping, I actually enjoy it and did it before DH. It’s just that I don’t want to be limited to camping and domestic travel especially since I don’t have a ton of vacation – I don’t always want to take 2 days to get somewhere and 2 days to get back.

        Your mom sounds pretty awesome to take kids camping on her own!

    • Wait was your dad married to and/or living with you and your mom? Growing up with two adults in the home, even if one of those adults just sat there and did nothing, is a privilege. At least your mom could go to the grocery store or take one kid to the ER or go back to the office or, you know, leave the home at all without having to figure out childcare. Calling your dad an absentee parent is pretty offensive to those of us who actually grew up without fathers/had to raise kids without any help at all.

      • Ack I miss the edit button – “married to your mom and/or living with you and your mom.” Yeesh.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I’d always heard the term “absentee father” directly in reference to fathers who were emotionally absent/uninvolved, but not literally absent.

      • He left every weekend to spend time with his mistress. When he was home he was drunk, high or both.

        So. Yeah, sorry I offended you. I was so privileged. My mom was so lucky.

  10. Women's March DC :

    So, I just cancelled a short trip to Florida I was going to leave on today so I can stay and go to the Women’s March in DC on Saturday morning. I feel bad because my dad was disappointed (I’ve seen him this month when he was here for work and visited in December, so it’s not like I never go there), but as things get more serious and I become increasingly upset, I felt like I had to be here and feel like I was doing something (in addition to volunteering and donating to causes I care about.) My dad and I don’t agree politically – we are civil about it, but he obviously lives in a red state and voted as such, and after watching the DeVos hearings this morning I was just like, I can’t leave. I need to stay here.

    I booked the trip on a whim because I was supposed to march with a guy I since had a split with. I regret doing that because it was my emotional, well fuck you, reaction, instead of thinking about it – the reality is a lot of my other friends are also going and I’m now planning to attend with them.

    Just bitching, I guess. Don’t let stupid men dictate your choices. Lesson learned. Will any other ‘rettes be there!?

  11. Any ideas for cardio for someone with weak ankle(s)?

    • Anonymous :

      Make sure you’re wearing proper footwear. I started doing Zumba in regular sneakers, which were running shoes, and I had terrible pain in my ankles, calves, and knees. I mentioned it to my instructor, who said I needed dance sneakers or crosstrainers with a different tread. Running shoes have a tread conducive to forward motion and stability. They are terrible for any side to side motion, twisting, or spinning, essentially sticking to the floor and making my joints work twice as hard. I purchased some dance sneakers, which made a HUGE difference. I suggest getting fitted at an athletic footwear store for shoes conducive to wahtever exercise you’re doing.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      Rowing might be a great option for you. I’ve noticed some Spin/Row combo studios popping up lately.

    • Anon in NYC :


    • Echoing rowing and spinning, but want to add swimming.

  12. Anonymous :

    Both my husband’s and my 10 year college reunions are this year and they fall on the same weekend. The schools are not geographically close enough that we could attend both. We’ve talked about it and I think we each have a similar level of interest in going to our reunions. Both of us would like to go and catch up with people but would not be devastated if we can’t go. We are not interested in splitting up and each going solo, since most of our close friends are bringing their spouses or significant others. Suggestions for how to decide which one we go to? We’re thinking of just flipping a coin, but I’m wondering if anyone has a more creative way of choosing.

    • Anonymous :

      Split up and go solo. It’s weird you won’t consider it.

      • I don’t think it’s weird. A reunion is supposed to be a fun thing, and I’d have more fun with my spouse than without (even if it meant choosing his reunion over mine). Totally legit to feel the opposite way too of course!

      • I agree that it is odd you don’t just split up.

        You went to different colleges. Do you really think your old college friends want to hang out with your SO? We don’t. We want to see YOU, and talk about our stories, inside jokes etc…

        I was single at my 10th and don’t remember meeting anyone’s spouse, and If I did, I would assume you are showing off a bit, which happens at reunions.

        • Anonymous :

          Is it really that odd? I guess there are some people who have close friends from college that they hadn’t seen in 10 years, but I don’t. I have a circle of friends from college that I’ve regularly kept up with, who attended my wedding and all know my husband, and I knew most of their spouses. I’m sure there were some inside jokes and college stories told at the reunion that went over the spouses heads, but for the most part we all know each other and were happy to hang out together, even though some of us had known each other for 10 years, and others had been brought into the group as recently as a year or two ago. Everyone who’s not in this group, I would consider more of an acquaintance, so maybe I made a few minutes of small talk with them at the reunion and they shook hands with my spouse as well as with me. What’s the big deal?

      • I don’t think that’s weird. I ended not being able to go to mine, but I wouldn’t have considered going without my husband. I had great friends in college but haven’t really kept in touch so I would have felt awkward by myself.

    • OMG just go solo. It’s a chance to see other classmates from your respective schools, not just your friends and their spouses.

    • Which is the more fun city?

      • Yes, this would be my suggestion. Either the better city, or better general location if you want to extend the weekend and go somewhere else nearby for a few days. Also, number of open bar events would be a factor on my list.

      • Also, which group of friends do you see less often?

    • Anonymous :

      Just curious:

      We are not interested in splitting up and each going solo, since most of our close friends are bringing their spouses or significant others.

      Why would this matter? I was usually the single person as my friends have gotten married off. I wouldn’t have expected this. [I get having a companion to talk to, but would think I’d prefer going solo to missing a reunion where I know a ton of people (so I usually also know their spouses or am not adverse to meeting new partners / spouses).]

    • Anonymous :

      Unless they’re having a sit-down dinner or a ball, I’d think that bringing a non-fellow-alumni spouse is severely overrated. Is there a key party?

      My spouse would pay me serious $ / spa time to NOT go to my reunions.

    • I guess I just expected that outside of the official mixer-type events, I’d mostly be hanging with close friends and don’t want to be the 5th/7th/9th etc wheel, since all my friends are coupled up and bringing their partners. I’ve never been to a reunion before so maybe I’m mistaken about this. And as someone else said, I generally have more fun when I’m with my husband and would prefer to travel with him, even if it means going to his reunion instead of mine. I went solo to two weddings of good friends because my husband couldn’t go, and was very glad I did, but I guess I see the reunion as more skip-able than a friend’s’ wedding, so I don’t really feel like going alone.

      • I love being with my husband, too, but I’ve been to a couple reunions without him and I think I had more fun without him. No worries about whether he was socially comfortable, etc., and I felt free to reminisce ad nauseam without feeling like he was being left out of the conversation. Reunions are different than weddings, I think. You don’t need a companion; you’re going to see your friends/classmates and to catch up. It’s a little fun to show off spouses & kids, but then you have to make sure they’re entertained and engaged, and to me that seems like less fun than just letting loose with my (sort of raucous) friends. It’s like being young again…

      • My husband came with me to my 10-year. I think I was the only one from my main friend group who brought a spouse/SO. I am glad he came because I was having a lot of personal issues and felt like I needed him to be with me for support, but I did spend time worrying if he was enjoying himself. And the stuff you might want to do with your friends for old time’s sake might seem less interesting ten years later to someone who did not live through it in their own college years. If all your friends are bringing SOs, I wonder if they might do something lower key while you do stuff as a friend group anyway?

        If you are absolutely decided against splitting up, I would pick based on location (ease of travel, what sort of accommodations, etc.), price for what you get, and which friends will be at which reunion (who do you get to see less frequently that this would be an opportunity to see).

    • I went solo and think my husband would have been bored. Most of the weekend was spent talking about old times.

  13. Shopaholic :

    Any suggestions on a good tote for work? I’m looking for one that will also fit my lunch in it which seems to be a problem. I don’t want a Lo &Sons or nylon bag. Hopefully something stylish but will give me somewhere to stash my lunch bag when I go out after work.


    • Marshmallow :

      Ugh, I wanted a Seville so badly for Christmas. Got one… and… it barely fits my lunch. It’s a beautiful bag and I would feel terrible to return it because my husband was so proud that he got what I wanted.

      So, no recommendations, but agreement that this is a unicorn search.

      • Anonymous :

        I have a 13″ laptop but got the 15″ seville and it has been perfect for me. I wouldn’t bring a lunch in it (to avoid ruining it), but schlep a ton of stuff and bagged snacks / cans of soda.

        The recommendation to buy larger came from someone on here, so many thanks to whomever that was!

      • I got the Seville when they were on sale for black Friday, and I completely agree that it turned out to be much smaller than expected. I ended up returning mine.

    • I use the Tory Burch York. It fits my lunch (and often breakfast and dinner too) with a pocket for a laptop, folders, and legal pads. I cannot also fit a pair of shoes, but otherwise I am super happy with it. Plus the saffiano leather prevents it from getting scuffed, stained, etc.

    • I recently got one by London Fog, of all brands. I didn’t know they even made bags. Mine is a dome-shaped tote with long padded straps. There are lots of options out there at decent prices. Mine is faux leather but doesn’t look cheap or plastic-y at all. Worth checking out.

      • And it comfortably fits my letter-sized redweld, and my lunch & other crap. Good interior organization.

    • I recommended this last week. Patricia Nash convertible tote. It’s very large and the leather is really nice. It’s also more affordable than some of these other brands. I schlep it everywhere.

    • I have a cuyana tote which fits my lunchbag and a document folder as well as all my other junk. Recommend!

  14. So I need a little help from all of you with difficult parents….

    My MIL is an extremely difficult human being. My husband and I suspect BPD but aren’t sure if, in her lengthy psych history, she has been diagnosed. He is an only child.

    I am currently home on maternity leave with my first, and my husband’s second, child. A couple weeks ago when my MIL was sick, my husband asked what he could do to make her feel better, and she said she’d like daily photos of the baby. She then proceeded to text me a few hours later demanding, “Where’s my picture?” I found out what she’d asked him for and while she was sick, I sent a photo most days. When we were skyping this weekend, she complained that I hadn’t been sending her daily photos. I told her that was a request she made of her son, so if she had any complaints she needed to talk to him. (He was right there; she dropped the subject).

    During this conversation, she also suggested we install video monitoring in the baby’s room so she can watch whenever she wants. My husband told her that was a creepy request and we wouldn’t be doing it.

    Today she texted me to “let her know what time today she could Skype with the baby.” I am unsure of how to respond. I have no interest in skyping with her, and the baby is only ten weeks old, so she doesn’t care. I’m afraid that if I do it once, I’ll have to do it on a regular basis it. Part of my objection is that I’m still getting my parenting routine down, and part of my objection is that I don’t like her and don’t want that frequent of contact with her. But I also feel guilty that she’s a miserable, lonely old woman. I can’t even use my stepdaughter as a buffer, because my MIL has been awful enough that the nine-year-old doesn’t like her, either.

    Normally, my husband handles all the boundary-setting with her, but I feel like I have to respond to this request because it was made directly to me. I can’t use a lack-of-time excuse, and I can’t tell her I just don’t want to talk to her. Anyone have advice on how to manage her without cutting her off completely?

    • Anonymous :

      Your lack of time excuse is your baby. She wants to skype? Baby is ‘napping’ or ‘nursing’ or ‘getting a bath’ or you just have to run out to deal with xyz from stepdaughter.

      Set a weekly time to skype – we use Saturday mornings – I sleep in and DH skypes with his mom. He sleeps in on Sundays. I don’t answer the phone/skype with her at any other time. Send daily pictures – DH can do it M-F and you can do it S/S. Accept that she will be grumpy pretty much regardless of what you do and that in no way reflect on your abilities as a mother or wife or daughter in law.

      • Anonymous :

        “Accept that she will be grumpy pretty much regardless of what you do and that in no way reflect on your abilities as a mother or wife or daughter in law.”

        My best friend’s mom sounds just like your MIL. She shows up every few months looking to be grandma of the year and demanding that everyone in her life accommodate this demand. It’s exhausting for their family. My friend has been really accommodating while her daughter is very young (too young to remember) but recognizes that as her daughter gets older, she can’t keep allowing grandma to show up and disappear without warning, going from totally absent to 100% engaged. Ultimately, when grandma wants access and involvement, no amount of either feels satisfying to her and she demands more. And when she wants to be absent, no amount of begging her to be involved is going to convince her to show up. My friend is just working on striking a balance that works for her and her daughter, understanding that her mom will never truly be happy with any arrangement.

    • Anon in NYC :

      If she’s willing to Skype, is she willing to access a photo sharing site? We use Flickr to share photos with family, but I know there are other ones available. We created a private group, and only our parents and siblings have access. We do it as a way to keep them involved, and they can access the photos from any computer or phone.

      My kiddo is 19 months and we really only started face timing with grandparents recently (within the past 1-2 months).

      As for her request – tell her that you can’t Skype today because the baby is sleeping, you’re leaving the house to run errands, etc., but that you’ll tell DH to try to Skype with her and the baby this weekend.

      • +1 this is what we do for all our family members. We use the iPhone photo stream feature. I put up pictures whenever I feel like I have something cute, but not every day.

        As for the Skype request, I would ignore it. Start being unreliable about texting back. And if she calls you on it, say “oh sorry about that – I don’t always have my phone on me.” My MIL has BPD, and she’s never, ever satisfied with what you give her. There’s no amount of contact or responsiveness that will meet her insatiable need. So do what you have to do to create a buffer for yourself.

    • I don’t have concrete suggestions, but Captain Awkward is good for this. I’m just chiming in to say that you should not in any way feel guilty. Her choices and behaviors made her lonely and miserable. It is not on you to fix this.

      • Yes, I was going to recommend Captain Awkward as well. My MIL has Borderline Personality Disorder, and we tried for a very long time to set reasonable limits to no avail. The best piece of advice I received was that I could set my own boundaries, but was not responsible for how she felt and/or responded. Know that, most likely, whatever you do, she will be unhappy.

    • Just on the photo sharing. That’s how I got on Facebook ages ago, so that I didn’t have to send photos of my babies to family one by one. I could post to FB and they could go in and see whatever they wanted. I had my privacy settings as high as possible and back in those days, my only FB friends were family.

      You could do this on Snapchat now. You can record little videos of the baby and she can watch them when she feels like it.

      • There’s an app called LifeCake that my friends are using for this reason, too. You can’t download or share images, and have to be invite-only to view. I think it’s worked great so far for them.

    • Thanks, everyone. I think I just needed to be reminded that I should just do what I’m comfortable with. You’re all right; nothing I do will be enough, and she’ll be unhappy regardless. Which is really sad, but not my doing.

    • Anonymous :

      Her: When are we skyping on Friday?!
      You: Oh, MIL, Friday’s unfortunately not good for a Skype call, though I’d really look forward to talking to you on Sunday afternoon if you have some time! [you’re not explaining or defending yourself re: Friday, and you’re providing a solution in the form of a Sunday call]
      Her: Why can’t you Skype with me on Friday?
      You: Sorry, it’s just not a good day for that. How is Sunday?
      Her: What are you doing on Friday, then, if you can’t call me?
      You: Oh, I’m not going to get into my schedule right now- but I do hope you have some free time on Sunday! Could you please let me know either way by tomorrow? By the way, have you spoken to Mary lately? I heard her daughter recently got engaged!

      Rinse and repeat. Don’t negotiate. By suggesting Sunday, you are NOT placating her, you are stating something reasonable you are comfortable with that she can either take or leave. If she keeps being disrespectful, she will forfeit it [“MIL, I’d really like to Skype with you later this week, but if you keep pushing Friday I’m going to feel like you’re not listening to me. If that’s the case maybe we should just table this whole Skype discussion and revisit it next week.” Hold your ground and follow through, she’ll eventually learn not to push you as far]. People like this respect boundaries only when boundaries are very firm and there are consequences to not respecting them. You are doing this for your entire family, not just yourself, and it’s also an excellent skill to model for your children.

    • No personal experience with this, but you could just let her know that you’ll skype her if you have time today and that you’ll try to send a photo if you don’t have time to skype. Plus, who knows if baby will be sleeping when your MIL wants to skype? In future requests, I’d respond the same way again. Then just skype her when you do have the time, and if she manages to be there to pick up, then great. I facetime with my nephews often but it is never scheduled. I think it’s hard to “schedule” a time because with babies, it’s unpredictable when you’ll have time to do it.

    • This is your husband’s problem. I know you said you feel like you need to respond because the request was directed at you– and you’re right. But future requests should not be directed at you. So whatever combination of the above suggested responses feels right to you, use that, with a dash of “DH handles the baby’s social calendar, ha ha, I bet he can schedule your next Skype call!” and then reinforce with your husband that YOU ARE NOT going to deal with this for him.

      • Mom and MIL Issues :

        I agree. I would talk with your husband about this. He may be more open to cutting her out than you realize. We had to deal with similar (and actually worse) issues with both his mom and and my mom. Before things got too out of hand, we had to decide what to do to protect our family. We ended up only using email to communicate with his mom, and not sharing our mailing address and employers. And with my mom, only a weekly phone call at most and we only visit her due to issues we have when she comes to our home. I am sure there is someone here that will say or at least think “oh my how can you do that to your mom and MIL??” We all just need to do what is best for our family as a whole.

  15. Any suggestions for a good small or medium shoulder bag that I could bring to work? I have a Lo & Sons OMG, but I just started a new job where I don’t have to carry my laptop or files around very often. I just need to fit my wallet, phone, keys, and small personal items. But I’m also still in an environment where a professional image matters. My budget is around $300. I think I’d like gray because that would match everything, but I’m open to other colors, just not all-black or all-brown (black and brown accents are fine).

  16. OMG Tips? :

    I travel about once a month for work. When my flights are not out of the closest airport, or are at some extremely inconvenient time, our travel department lines up a car service to take me there and home. It’s always the same company, owned by a family, and it’s almost always the same driver. They’re wonderful.

    It just occurred to me — do I tip?! On the one hand, presumably when Travel sets it up (I never see the bill or anything) they take care of it, but on the other hand, what if they don’t?!

    Since I’ve been doing this for over a year, I might be too embarrassed to ask someone here!

    • Anonymous :

      Ask your travel department. No need to be embarrassed, at least you’re thoughtful enough to ask!

      Our travel department arranges the pick up time, pays the base fee and leaves tipping to our discretion. We can ask the company to set up our accounts to auto-tip, tell our driver to charge the company for the tip, or tip with cash and submit it for reimbursement.

      I imagine everyone does it differently, but I’d be (pleasantly) surprised if your company is handling the tipping automatically.

      • Anonymous :

        I think it’s very unlikely your company is tipping in advance unless you’ve asked them to. But no shame in asking them what’s up.

    • When I started using my company’s car service in New York I was new to the entire concept, being a native Californian. My boss specifically said, don’t tip them. It’s all included in their contract.

      Fortune 50 company, for what it’s worth.

  17. new rules of lifting :

    Interested in learning more about the actual mechanics behind weight lifting, such as which exercises work which muscle groups, and how often different muscle groups should be worked. Is the NROL for Women the right book for me?

    • Weightlifter :

      Check out bodybuilding [dot] com. They have a TON of articles on different exercises for each muscle group, and a bunch of videos that demonstrate how to do the exercise. The articles include details on proper form, WHY it’s proper form, compound exercises vs. isolated exercises, etc. There’s also a lot of options for modifications and variations if you need them. You can even pick a free plan that includes each workout, with recommended reps, sets, weights, etc. based on your goals (burn fat, gain muscle, maintain a fit life).

    • pugsnbourbon :

      NROL was my “gateway drug” to weightlifting. It’s easy to follow and I found it effective. I was surprised at how quickly I gained upper-body strength!

      • Anonymous :

        Is it important to do the NROL for Women rather than just NROL? I can see how the advice might be different but a lot of what I’m seeing on the women’s version is emphasis on cosmetic changes (weight loss, looking “toned” rather than “bulky” etc.) that I’m not interested in and some reviews say it’s more condescending.

        • weightlifter :

          Personally, I prefer information that’s not targeted “at women”. I haven’t read the original NROL or the NROL for Women, but I’ve found that a lot of advice to women about lifting is really basic, steers you away from lifting heavy, and generally assumes that you just want to “tighten up”. Based on your wording about the actual mechanics, it sounds like you’re interested in a deeper level of information. I’ve found that gender-neutral information tends to speak more factually vs. assuming you’re trying to achieve a very narrow aesthetic. Like, “This lift/movement works these muscles. This is important because these muscles help you do X in real life (lift boxes, carry groceries, stabilize your core)” vs. “Get s3xy shoulders! Get a tight b00ty!” etc.

          • NROL for Women is precisely the opposite of everything you just said you dislike. It encourages lifting heavy, makes no assumptions about aesthetics, etc.

          • The NROLFW actually does a lot to *disprove* the typical women’s-only advice, so I think it’s the exception of the concerns weightlifter voiced above. I’ve only read the “for women” version and not the dude’s NROL, but NROLFW talks about the importance of lifting heavy, that women shouldn’t be worried about bulking up like a dude because we can’t due to different hormones, etc. I think it’s a great book and would definitely be a good start.

          • Baconpancakes :

            The cover art and blurbs do make it seem more like a wimpy book, but the actual text literally says something like “However much you think is a reasonable weight to start with, add 10 lbs. You absolutely can lift that.” And you increase weights almost every week. It’s definitely a pro-lifting heavy book.

            See if your library has it if you’re on the fence, but I am very pro-NROLFW. The difference between the two is that FW does a lot more squats and back-work, since women tend to have weaker back muscles and quads than is beneficial for them. The regular NROL has more front-focused work.

        • I loved the NROL for Women, and did not find it condescending at all. It definitely focuses on getting stronger, not on cosmetic changes. Women and men differ so much in terms of upper body strength, I did find it very useful to have a version geared toward women that wasn’t constantly telling me to “tone” or what to do to avoid “bulking up.” As I personally would have been fine if I’d bulked up, I found all of the advice for women about how to avoid it really annoying.

        • NROL for Women – the “for Women” part was really just an emphasis that women should be weightlifting, and lifting more than 3-5 lb dumbells.

          I would say the advice is pretty gender neutral and isn’t really any different than it would be for men, except it talks about why toning isn’t really a thing, why a women won’t get bulky unless she really, really tries, Mostly it shoots down a lot of the arguments women have historically used to not weightlift. And the example pictures use women.

    • Starting Strength

      • Shenandoah :

        +1. Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 also does a good job with laying the foundation, covering lifting philosophy, etc. But I started with Starting Strength, and it’s definitely one of the most, if not the most, widely recommended guide for anyone new to lifting.

  18. Hand mixer vs. stand mixer? :

    My super-cheap electric hand mixer finally died, and I’m debating about buying another hand mixer vs. a stand mixer. I use it for smaller quantities of a bunch of things: mashed potatoes for only 2-4 people, buttercream frosting for a single tray of brownies or a small batch of cookies, whipping 2-4 egg whites for recipes, etc. I worry that a stand mixer will be too big for the quantities I normally mix, but I always hear rave reviews about stand mixers. To be fair, the wimpy hand mixer I had struggled with bigger batches of cake batters or mashed potatoes (like the year we hosted Thanksgiving for 12… I think I had to mix the potatoes in two batches), but those cases feel few and far between.

    So: hand mixer vs. stand mixer? Which brands will last with weekly or bi-weekly use?

    • I didn’t want to cede valuable counter space to a kitchenaid but I’m glad I did. I find having it there on the counter means I’m more likely to make something that needs a mixer. Like, cookies are so easy now. I just throw in a stick of butter with some sugar and let it do its thing for a good long time while I gather the other ingredients. (Ina Garten said the secret to good cookies is not cutting short this first step and I think she’s right.)

      I am also more likely to whip cream or egg whites for a dish. Like, I would never have bothered to make a soufflé before my kitchenaid.

      I think the hand mixer has its place. A kitchenaid might be overkill for a bowl of mashed potatoes (but I don’t whip them anyway, I just literally mash them.) But if you like to bake at all, it is totally worth it.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I would watch for a sale on a regular Kitchenaid mixer or get a refurbished one, especially if you’re using it weekly. Even for smaller batches, you can’t beat the convenience.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I have both (or really, I used to have a hand mixer that broke and now I use an immersion blender with a whisk attachment for whipping egg whites). I like them both but I don’t have my Kitchenaid sitting on my counter. The vast majority of my cooking is for 2 adults and a toddler. I rarely bake, but if I do it’s in small quantities. I find that a hand mixer is better for my daily life. But on the occasions when I need to do a lot (Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthday cakes), the KitchenAid is invaluable.

      So if you have the space, I’d say to go with both.

    • Hand mixer vs. stand mixer? :

      Good suggestions on a refurbished stand mixer, ease of use, and using the whisk attachment on our immersion blender… or just getting both. I do bake pretty frequently, and the appeal of letting the batter/dough mix itself is so appealing. Sigh, these are good thoughts but now I want cookies and two electric mixing options :)

      • Adulting fail? :

        I have always just used a spoon, a whisk, or a potato masher. Is it just easier / better with a mixer of any sort? I thought of them as just something expensive that then took a lot of time to clean (and a lot of counterspace otherwise).

        Am I missing something?

        I feel like I am descended from spoon-users as no one in my family seems to have these things (and we come from farm women who cook and bake) (perhaps with very large forearm muscles???). Maybe they used to be expensive?

        • hand mixer vs. stand mixer :

          Humorously, I think I do it this way because that’s what my mom always did, and I think my grandmother always did it that way. I usually add butter and milk to my potatoes, so I find that the electric mixer distributes the butter more evenly. I had never seen someone use a hand masher until probably college, and I was so confused! I think I would feel weird about using a stand mixer for a normal quantity of potatoes vs. a holiday-meal amount of potatoes, but tossing the beaters into the dishwasher takes no more time than the hand mixer. Now that I’ve tried both hand-mashed and electric-mashed (whipped?), I prefer the texture of potatoes whipped with a mixer.

          Re: baking, I only just started making my own buttercream in the last couple of years, and really didn’t bake from scratch until recently, either. I tried whipping egg whites or cream with a hand whisk, and it just never stiffened up like it does with an electric mixer.

          • FWIW, I think stand mixed potatoes can get really starchy. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had hand mixer ones, because I always mash with a pastry cutter or a potato ricer if I’m being fancy.

          • Senior Attorney :

            I put my potatoes through the sausage-making attachment of my KitchenAid stand mixer. It works just like a potato ricer. ;)

        • pugsnbourbon :

          I mean, anything you can do with a mixer you can do by hand, and arguably some tasks are better by hand (some kinds of kneading, etc). But lordy the kitchenaid is just so FAST. And easy. I am deeply lazy and if it was difficult in any way I wouldn’t use it – but it’s great.

        • My grandmother also washed clothing by hand, but I really enjoy having a washing machine (and so did Grandma, once she got one.)

    • I bought a refurbished Kitchenaid off of their eBay store in 2008 and haven’t looked back. In fact, I just gave away my hand mixer because it hasn’t been pulled out in years. The key to making the most use of your stand mixer is to keep it on the counter. If you don’t want to give up your counter space, you’re better off with a hand mixer.

      • hand mixer vs. stand mixer :

        We’re moving into a new place with more counter space at the end of the month, so maybe I’ll just suck it up without a mixer for a few weeks to work out the organization in the new kitchen. If we have extra counter space once we settle in, it sounds like the stand mixer would be a great investment.

    • Stand mixer! I use it for a lot of things, like making dough for noodles, etc. It’s great. Costco sometimes has it on discount. Macy’s has sales occasionally too. Plus there are often attachments you can buy (I haven’t gotten one yet but it is on my wish list!). It really does make things easier and it’s easy to clean.

    • Anonymous :

      I got a Cuisinart (I think) hand mixer, since I only bake occasionally and don’t have the counter space for a stand mixer.

    • Anonymous :

      I live in a studio. I have about 6 square feet of counter space. I love my kitchenaid. Take my vitamix and all my other appliances. With my kitchenaid and crock pot, there is nothing I cannot do. (I keep it on the baker’s rack I used to store my kitchen stuff, but it comes out multiple times a week)

  19. What do you all think of the lower priced alternative? I like it but worry that the shininess will read cheap.

    • Yup. I looked, and might have missed, fabric composition, but I think it reads cheaper than I would be comfortable with.

  20. Sad Pet Owner :

    We learned that our beloved pet is dying. He’s not in any pain (and is on painkiller to manage discomfort in an attempt for some last-ditch medication to work), so we don’t plan to put him to sleep unless he goes downhill.
    We’ve been taking extra photos and videos of his antics since we got the news, and are trading off working from home when we can so he isn’t alone. Any other tips from those who’ve lost a pet?

    • I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Spend as much time with your nugget as you can.

    • One of my FB friends took her dog to all of her favorite places in his last days. He acted like a puppy again when my friend took him to the lake. So much so that they went twice.

    • DH is a musician, so he often recorded the sounds of our sweet dog, both on purpose, and in the background while recording guitar sketches. I can’t tell you how lovely it is to hear my little guy’s snores, grunts, barks, and sighs years after he’s gone. It brings him back in a way that pictures don’t.

      Also, when we knew our dag was going soon, we let our friends who were fond of him know, and many of them made a point of coming over to visit him. It was really sweet.

      Hugs. It’s so hard to lose a pet.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      It hurts. It hurts a ton. Grief is just an awful feeling. I wasn’t prepared for how much it would make my whole body hurt. You know when it is “time.” Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for your decision. Talk to your vet about the process. Many will make it more comfortable for you and your pet. Our emergency vet let us pay over the phone and enter and exit through a side door avoiding the lobby. They also had a comfort room with a nice big comfy couch and low lighting for us to sit in while the deed was done.

      Everyone deals with this process differently. Do what feels right for you and your partner. Be prepared to not want to see your dog’s stuff after. Some people want to save it all. We wanted it gone asap and brought it all to the animal shelter I volunteer at. (Except for the collar that we kept.)

      I’m sorry you are going through this.

    • I am so sorry about this.
      We lost our dog earlier this year – he had been going downhill for a long time, and after his last vet visit we had to make a judgement call. The choices were, have the vet put him down right then and there, or wait four days. We chose to wait the four days, and the jury’s still out for me over whether or not, in the long run, that was the best idea. Those four days were torturous, not for the dog, but for us.
      Lots of pictures, obviously. We wanted to do a “big last day,” that some people do with their dogs, but our dog was so debilitated and out-of-it (he was on heavy pain meds and also had doggie dementia) that we couldn’t make it happen. Mostly just spending a lot of time with him helped. We let him get on the couch and sleep on the bed with us as much as he wanted, stuff we usually didn’t allow.
      It’s just hard. There’s no two ways about it. My heart goes out to you. There is relief, when they’re gone, that they are not suffering any more. Unfortunately, you are still suffering when you have that realization. Big hugs to you.

    • Wildkitten :

      You might also want to start looking for a vet who can put him to sleep at home. I’ve heard that can make a big difference for pups who hate the vet.

    • My heart breaks just thinking about you losing your pet. I don’t have any additional recommendations beyond what folks have said, but what I will add is that if this is the first pet you’ve lost, you will be surprised by how heartbroken you’ll be and how lonely your grief can be. Folks who have never lost a pet just won’t understand why you’re sad about losing “just an animal.”

  21. Does anyone have experience going from a more-formal office to a less-formal one? I am starting a new job on Monday. My current office is relaxed business formal, so I have a lot of dresses and dress pants. My new job – they say it’s “business casual” but my new boss told me people of both sexes, even in management, wear Dockers or jeans 90% of the time. I am a little panicked, as I have exactly 3 pairs of jeans, only one of which is what I would consider work-appropriate. I don’t have the money or the time to go out and buy a completely new wardrobe, and am hoping there is some way I can repurpose my existing work clothes so they look okay at the new job. I am way more familiar with “dressing up” more-casual clothes than I am “dumbing-down” workwear.

    • I did this switch. My new workplace is definitely dockers-ville , though jeans are Fridays only.

      I still wear my work clothes. They’re beautiful, expensive and took me years to collect. I am not wearing full suits. I’m wearing skirts and blouses and structured cardigans or soft jackets, with tights and low heeled shoes or flat boots. I’m wearing my scarves and my jewelry.

      No one has said boo. I feel better when I look better so I’m sticking with it.

      • I feel like that’s where I’m at, as well. It took me a REALLY long time to come up with work looks that I feel good about. I try to buy only really nice-quality work clothes so they last – most of my stuff still has years of wear left in it. I had read somewhere about “dumbing down” dresses with cardigans and flats, and I have plenty of both.

    • Been there. I just continued to wear the clothes I had in my closet. I eventually went more casual over time. It’s not a big deal.

    • Anonymous :

      My office went from the business end of business casual to allowing jeans (FWIW, national company… policy change exclusive to SF/LA).

      I just wear my jeans with whatever tops/blazers I normally wore. I only consider jeans not appropriate for with it they have holes… everything else is fine, including skinnies.

      I will dress down the dresses (e.g., boss dresses) with a casual jacket, such as a jean jacket or a fairly clean lined olive military jacket.

      In general, I just mix my casual and business wardrobe and it actually turns out looking pretty cool. The only real change has been some less formal shoes (I.e., slightly more funky).

      • Same here. I love the change – mostly I feel free to buy slightly more funky items, jeans are now work-wear so I can justify getting trendier cuts and buying new pairs. I also do a lot more flats and chambray tops – both of those casual down my business wear a bit.

    • Frozen Peach :

      I went through this. Get a few more pairs of jeans and adjust your closet slowly.

  22. Wildkitten :

    Thoughts on a queen vs full bed? I will live alone in a very small apartment and don’t know if the difference even matters.

    • Anonymous :

      A queen bed is bulkier when you have to move. Saying this from experience, I switched to a full size for this reason. Also more floor space which matters if your place is tiny. That said, queen is roomier if you have a partner–if this is not an immediate concern, go for full until you get a bigger space

      • Anonymous :

        +1 I was surprised when I got a full bed at how much space it took up in the room. I find it’s plenty big for boyfriend and I, and the queen at his place almost feels too big to me, hah.

    • I had a queen even when I was single. I’m an active sleeper and I tend to starfish. I’m 5’2″ and a full is not big enough for me.

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