Suit of the Week: Ted Baker London

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’ve often said that I prefer light gray to white in summer because I think it’s more wearable, and this light gray suit from Ted Baker is lovely. (Just a note: A lot of Ted Baker stuff right now has really lovely rose gold–tone hardware, including this suit.) I think the angular darts in the front are unusual and beautiful, and the blazer almost has a peplum cut to it. The single-button style looks nice, too. The suit comes in sizes 0-5 (oo-14) at Nordstrom. The jacket (Radiia Suit Jacket) is $429, the dress (Radiiad Suiting Sheath Dress) is $295; matching pants are $215.

This light gray suit at Talbots is more affordable and comes in four size ranges.



  1. Gosh, this suit is gorgeous!

    Ladies, TJMaxx has just announced it’s bringing Canadian HomeSense to the U.S. It says it’s like HomeGoods, but offers different wares at a similar price. Can anyone who’s been to both compare them? I do feel a bit tired of HomeGoods – it’s been a lot of the same stuff for years.

    • Shopaholic :

      I’ve never been to HomeGoods but oh how I love HomeSense. I find the stock changes fairly frequently and there’s always lots of interesting kitchen/household gadgets. I can wander around for hours.

      Also, there is some lovely art and lamps and throw pillows at a reasonable price.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I also love HomeSense. I rarely leave there without some little thing, but I have some furniture from there too!

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve furnished apartments with both HomeSense and HomeGoods and they are the exact same. I feel like HomeGoods is a larger store, but that could be because I was shopping HomeSense in a city and now I am more likely to go to the HomeGoods which is in the burbs.

      I also think TJ Maxx/Marshalls/Winners are all the same except Winners sells more Roots.

  2. Baconpancakes :

    So this is random and out of the blue, but with all the graduations going on now, a query for the hive:

    Did you decorate your mortarboards? Did a lot of people at your school decorate when they graduated? I was vaguely aware that people decorated mortarboards, but I don’t know anyone who did when I graduated, and I assumed the decorating was only done by a pretty small subset of people who liked rhinestones and pink fur on everything and weren’t really serious. Now I’m being told that everyone does it, and it’s absolutely not tacky and is pretty much expected. Thoughts?

    • I’m older, but graduated from law school 3 years ago. No one had decorated mortarboards then…but 3 years is a lifetime in Pinterest years lol.

    • Anonymous :

      I did it so that my parents could spot me in the crowd (1200 graduating class all in black robes and the same hood). I covered the top of my mortarboard with a white-background floral print and cut a hole through it for the tassel.

      • Anonymous :

        FWIW, I am an Old.

        If you were a guy (or not crafty) then, you spelled out something with masking tape.

    • Anonymous :

      I didn’t do it for any of my graduations (18, 14 and 9 years ago). I don’t recall anyone else in those classes doing it. There were a few people that traded out the mortarboard for another hat (baseball hat with tassel, cowboy hat) but not decorating it.

      I don’t think “everyone” is doing it. I think people just feeling like “everyone is doing it” because everyone that does it, posts about it on the internet. So, you have a self-selected crowd commenting on it.

    • Cookbooks :

      I don’t remember any decorated mortarboards in either college or law school. We were all too concerned about making the sure the damned things stayed on properly.

    • Anonymous :

      I didn’t do it in either college (10 years ago) or law school (7 years ago). I knew a few people who did in college but it definitely wasn’t everyone, and I went to a school where people took a lot of pride in being weird and quirky. I didn’t know it was thing done by anyone at more conventional schools.

    • There were enough people who decorated theirs at my two (~15 and 10 years ago) that you wouldn’t have been weird to do it, but the vast majority did not.

    • Diana Barry :

      No, we weren’t allowed at one of my schools (college) and then for law school, we were more concerned with the hoods and I don’t remember anyone decorating them.

    • Anonymous :

      Well, for law school we wore these velvet beanie type hats, so could not have decorated them. For undergrad, which was a lifetime ago, I don’t remember a soul that did. This was a really traditional small school though. Honestly, I’m not sure they would have allowed it even…

    • I didn’t do it in undergrad (it wasn’t really a thing) but I graduated with my Master’s this year from a large university and a surprisingly high percentage of the undergrads had decorated theirs. Many of them were pretty tacky, but some were very nicely done and clever and/or meaningful to the wearer. A friend translated the phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted” into Arabic and put it on her hat incorporated into a henna design. For background, my friend is Muslim, has Indian and Pakistani heritage, and was graduating with a degree in Arabic.

    • MargaretO :

      I went to a tiny liberal arts college and don’t remember anyone decorating them, and I’m guessing it would have been considered deeply uncool to do so.

    • When I graduated undergrad (more than a dozen years ago), we decorated to show different affiliations (e.g., sororities, sports teams, etc.). This is like “know your office.” What’s normal in one place will be outré in another.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I have never heard of such a thing (but Canada). Do you keep them? My undergrad one was just rented along with the hood and gown so I am not sure how it would even have worked…

    • A handful of kids did in high school. No decorated mortarboards at my college graduation. A couple chemical engineers put the radioactive symbol on theirs at my brother’s – a small amusement for the spectators.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I went to my son’s graduation (Master’s in Counseling! Woo hoo!) this weekend and I’d say about two or three people out of a class of 20 had decorated mortarboards. It was much more common to see floral and/or money lei’s around people’s necks. Can’t speak to what the undergrads are doing…

      • Senior Attorney :

        And how mortified am I about the apostrophe in the plural above?

      • my parents flew in with leis from Hawaii, with extras for my best friends so and a haku for me. :) Made it easier to spot me.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I decorated my mortar board for HS graduation, as did the vast majority of my class. It was just for fun. This was ~20 years ago.

      My undergrad program did not use mortar boards. They were soft, fluffy hats. Plus, it would have been a faux paux as they were borrowed not bought and wearing them is a huuuuuge deal. Literally no one decorated them. However, based on graduation ceremonies I attended at large universities (stadium sized ceremonies) around the same time, mortar board decorations were fairly common. Maybe 1 out of 5? Mainly to say things like “Thanks, Mom!” or otherwise be recognizable to their parents in the sea of students.

      I wore a mortar board for my graduate school graduation (mid-20’s) but did not decorate it. I was over the idea, I guess. I don’t remember anyone decorating, but there were probably a few.

    • When I graduated from a masters program three years ago nobody had decorated them. It strikes me as definitely an undergrad thing.

    • I’d say about half of the undergrads I’ve seen in the past few years have (small, liberal arts undergrad) and about 20% at a graduation I went to recently that included Pharm-D and science/tech degrees. It’s definitely trendy now – big flowers, glitter, “Thanks mom and dad”

  3. love this suit :

    And also the Talbots version of it.

    But I want some sort of color with it. What would you wear — red shoes? I hate the default to black — it seems harsh against such a light gray. Scarf? What?

    • I wouldn’t wear red red shoes. I think they usually come across as silly. But a cordovan or more deep traditional leather color would work.

      I would personally wear this with a natural leather bag and shoes. Like a saddle tan color. In terms of scarf, I find gray plays nicely with pink or blue. I have a navy and gray travel capsule that I mix and match all the time.

      • I don’t know, I wear red shoes all the time, including with this shade of grey. Maybe I’m just totally unaware, but I’ve never got the sense that they came across as “silly.” They’re noticeable, but when the rest of my outfit is simple, I don’t mind that.

        • Anonymous :

          Another red-red shoe wearer here. I am not in the NE, and I work in a casual office, and the only comment I ever get is “ooooh, I love your shoes!” I wear them with gray – this light, or darker – all the time.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yep, red shoes 4evah.

      • Anonymous :

        I would do dark red, but not bright red.

    • I agree with a pop of color on the shoes, but I’m not sure I love red and gray. I’d probably go purple.

    • I agree, not red. I have some red shoes that I love, but I think they look better with navy or darker gray.

      With this suit, I’d go for a softer color, but I think any subdued shade of purple, blue, aqua, or even pink would work.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Cobalt or purple or even Kelly green would look great with this light grey. Or a patterned shoe might also look cool.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I am Team Green Shoes like Kat is with purple. Darker greens come off almost neutral, like navy does.

    • I got some magenta shoes this year. I would wear those.

  4. Anonymous :

    Would any of you ladies in a hiring role reach out to an applicant who sent a cover letter but forgot to attach a resume? I applied for a job over a month ago and never heard back and just got an email from the hiring manager asking me to resend my resume since it was never attached. Is this a complete deal breaker? Should I even bother sending it or is it just a lost cause?

    • Anonymous :

      They literally asked you to do this. Do you want the job? Just send it to them. If it were a lost cause they wouldn’t ask.

    • Why are you second guessing this? She asked for your resume. Send it.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      If she asked, yes, send it!

    • Anonymous :

      +1 to the rest – they have asked you for it, when they could have just written you off. It’s not a guarantee you get the job, but their were interested enough to ask.

    • I definitely wouldn’t consider hiring someone who both forgot to attach a resume _and_ ignored my email requesting it.

    • Anonymous :

      Of course do it! If they’re asking they probably don’t consider this mistake a dealbreaker and even if they do and are just wasting your time for no reason, it literally takes 30 seconds. Not really a big loss.

    • lost academic :

      No. I would not have the time. Plus that kind of oversight would be something that would make me feel as if I dodged a bullet.

    • Anonymous :

      Of course you should send it, they actually asked so they seem interested.

    • Of course send it. They are giveing you a second chance at a job. Unless you have just found a guy to MARRY and support you, send the resume in NOW! You must have at least written a good cover letter, so they do think you are NOT a dummy. Don’t pass up the chance, b/c you may not get another one as nice as this company who may hire you. 10 years from now, if you DO get the job, you will have a story to tell, that is if you stay for 10 years and do NOT get married and leave. I never thought I would be unmarried after all this time, but it has been 9 years and I am still working b/c no one will marry me. FOOEY!

    • I know the hiring process seems like it’s full of endless mind games but this is about as straight forward as it could possibly get.

    • Seriously, what!? You’re actually thinking that you should just not send the resume that they are asking for because you’re embarrassed(??) that you didn’t send it to begin with? Why take yourself out of the running if you actually want the job?? Send the resume with a simple apology and move on. This is a good way to demonstrate how you handle mistakes (because everyone makes them).

  5. Anonymous :

    I want this suit, but as usual small sizes are sold out. I am also skeptical of the sizing. Each size supposedly covers two U.S. sizes, which means that it’s not going to fit anyone well without tons of tailoring.

  6. You’re so good at travel recs here. Anyone have advice for any must-dos for a solo traveler in Mobile, AL? My partner’s in a wedding party over Memorial Day, and I’ll have a great deal of time on my hands while she’s doing bridal party duties on Thursday and Friday before the ceremony. We’ll be downtown with a car, but I’d rather walk if at all possible. TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      I was there for wedding weekend a while back. I recommend the Malaga Inn over the larger chain hotels downtown. Very walkable and I went to an art gallery and the cathedral and walked around. It had a New Orleans vibe, but much smaller. I went during college football season and found the bar scene to be very friendly and fun for game-watchers — not sure what else there might be your time of year. Dauphin Island maybe?

      If you find a cute lavender cardi on the sidewalk, it’s mine. There was some post reception staggering around and it got away from me. Very fun visit.

    • The Mobile Carnival (Mardi Gras) Museum is fun. Mobile is where Mardi Gras actually began (not New Orleans).

      • The Battle House is a great place to stay. I think there’s also a spa if you are interested. Noja and Dumbwaiter are decent restaurants. I’ve also had dinner at the Royal Scam (it’s fine but not outstanding).

  7. Wanted to respond to the discussion yesterday regarding a poster’s concern about a child needing glasses. My mom had perfect eyesight and couldn’t understand why I kept getting notices from school about not being able to see the spelling words on the blackboard. My mom was so concerned about glasses “ruining your face” that she refused to get me glasses from 2-5th grades. I then got glasses at 6th (she picked out the ugliest coke-bottle style from the clearance bin with huge lenses, but they might actually look kind of hipster now) and then switched to contacts ever since. Even now when I wear glasses, I dislike the way I look and refuse to wear them in pictures. It seriously affected my self-esteem and my confidence level – please don’t do this to your child!

    • Anonymous :

      +1 million. This is very true about a whole host of body/appearance issues. It will only be a big deal if your parents make it into a big deal.

    • MargaretO :

      Wow that’s awful. My mom always let me pick out whatever glasses I wanted when I was a kid because she could only get the cheapest insurance covered ones growing up – she said it was her way of reversing her own childhood glasses trauma (that was a money issue though, her parents couldn’t afford more).

    • Anonymous :

      I was pretty shocked at that post. My parents both had terrible eyes, and so it was just a matter of time, in their eyes, till I needed glasses (and they were right). I got mine in the 7th grade and got to pick out a cool pair I really liked. I wear contacts most of the time (I love being able to wear regular sunglasses), but I have no problem wearing glasses. I would hope any parent would be able to understand that a child’s ability to see clearly is much more important than the aesthetics of glasses. I had a friend in elementary school who was very smart, but almost got held back because she couldn’t see the board and therefore kept messing up her assignments. She didn’t say anything because she was afraid her parents couldn’t afford glasses. Obviously, that’s not a situation anyone want their child to be in.

    • Baconpancakes :

      The main thing I thought of was that my doctor recommended I put off glasses for as long as possible (got them at 10 yo) because my eyesight might fluctuate and get better on its own, but with glasses would get progressively worse (which did happen). Not sure if that’s no longer the recommendation though.

      • Anonymous :

        I think there is something to the idea that your eye muscles get a little lazy if you have glasses to correct your vision, but I think it’s rarely enough to completely forgo the need for glasses at all.

        My experience: I’ve had glasses since 2nd grade. Did swim team in 8th grade, which involved a lot of not-wearing glasses. My correction didn’t improve, but also didn’t get worse, while prior years had been a steady decline. Ultimately, I ended up getting LASIK at 22 and I’ve been pretty good ever since.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      This reminds me of something my 6th grade teacher used to say to my friend, who wore glasses: “Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.”

      This was not even the worst thing this man did, but I can’t believe this guy got away with the sh*t he used to pull. Not only was he a misogynist, he had extreme anger management issues (like, slammed the classroom door hard enough that the glass window shattered!) If he was my kids teacher, I’d be talking to the principal every single day asking what could be done to get rid of him. The mid-80’s sure were a different time.

      • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

        My favorite retort to that one was: Boys who don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses … are @sses.

        I didn’t come up with it and don’t know who did, but I’ve said it a few times.

    • I was shocked as well. No lie, I almost got put in special ed/learning support in second grade because I struggled so much with reading. My eyes kept testing as normal at the pediatrician’s, but I kept complaining to my mom about double vision and headaches and she finally took me to a specialist. Turns out I have some weird eye stuff and couldn’t read books because I couldn’t focus on text on a page for more than a few minutes without getting excruciating headaches and blurred vision. My glasses were the best things that ever happened to me.

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      I didn’t see the discussion yesterday, but a friend’s third grader was so worried about getting glasses and the other kids making fun of her, until she put them on for the first time and then she never wanted to take them off because she couldn’t believe how clear everything looked! And from what I hear none of the kids made fun of her. As someone with horrible vision (I’m pretty sure I’d be considered legally blind if I wasn’t correctable), I can’t imagine waiting to get my kids help if they were having problems seeing.

    • That’s horrible. A very appearance-obsessed neighbor learned recently that her daughter needs glasses. Her daughter is seven and has struggled with reading and academics all year. The fact that she can’t see isn’t helping her cause! So the kid finally got glasses two months ago. I’ve seen her wearing them exactly twice. (She’s a classmate of my son’s and lives on my street, so I see her several times a week.) My neighbor is super embarrassed that her pretty daughter needs glasses. If I were her, what’s more embarrassing is that her daughter isn’t wearing her glasses when she clearly needs them. The frames are cute and why is it such a big deal?

    • Glasses OP :

      Guys, OP here and didn’t mean to cause so much concern with my hasty wording yesterday. I want to delay glasses-wearing as long as possible, not because I am concerned with looks or anything superficial like that, but because I’ve seen kids struggle with glasses while doing sports, and it’s a daily hassle and a daily (albeit minor) handicap I’d rather prevent if possible. I got them as a teenager myself and my myopia which was low to begin with, has improved in recent years so I am legally (for driving) OK without them. I’m reading about eye exercises that will strengthen vision and am wondering whether they can be warded off. I’ve also seen websites (maybe hokey) that claim that distance glasses worsen vision.
      My kid doesn’t complain from any vision issues and was able to read far-off signs on the highway (we have an appointment for a test to confirm) so it’s more prevention than avoiding the cure. Was curious if anyone has had success with prevention, or if that doesn’t work and it’s all genetics.

      • a millenial :

        i mean – the stuff about eye muscles is mostly hokey. myopia comes from literally the length of your eye ball back to from – people with near sightedness literally have longer eyeballs. you cannot un-lengthen your eyeball from muscle exercises of any sort. that being said, it’s been shown (but not in any sort of super rigorous, peer reviewed, large group study) that being outside correlates with less myopia. i was outside a ton my entire childhood and have terrible vision – guess what, my parent sboth have terrible vision and no matter what my behavior was, i would probably have had terrible vision anyway.

      • Anonymous :

        It really depends on whether the vision issues are related to the shape of the cornea or just lazy eye muscles. If vision issues are related to the shape of the cornea, no amount of exercising is going to ward off the need for glasses. At that point it’s a physics problem, because the lens on the eye is not the right shape – hence the need for corrective glasses.

        But you need the eye-doctor to tell you which issue it might be. And it sounds like all that concern is really premature if Kiddo hasn’t even been to the eye-doctor for a check-up (which he should be doing once a year until the doc says otherwise), and hasn’t had any other issues identified at school or home.

        • Late post :

          Lazy eye (amblyopia) is when one eye goes wandering instead of tracking with the other. That’s the only kind of muscle issue eyes get. There are exercises which may help. The next step is a patch over the strong eye. Third step is surgery to weaken the muscles of the good eye.
          My source is my dad, an ophthalmologist who saw patients in his office and did surgery ~15 hrs per week.

      • Wow. The handicap is not wearing glasses. The handicap is NOT BEING ABLE TO SEE.

        • Anonymous :

          +1. Glasses are not the handicap. And kids who need them manage just fine (I was one of them). If kiddo does need them and YOU treat them as a normal thing to deal with, then Kiddo will treat them as a normal thing.

          I really don’t understand this concern with a kid getting glasses. Especially since it seems really theoretical at this point. So to answer to the OP from yesterday – No, exercises won’t prevent the need for glasses. Get Kiddo regular check-ups at the eye-doctor and if the eye-doctor says to get glasses, get the Kiddo glasses and treat it like a normal thing. Because it’s a normal thing for kids to need glasses.

        • Yep ….

      • Anonymous :

        Please. Your child gets one set of eyes. Just listen to the eye doctor not some hooey nonsense you find on the internet.

      • Anonymous :

        It is 2017 not 1917. There are so many types of sports related eyewear and ways to play sports with glasses, including contact lenses at some point when kids get a little older. Sorry, I don’t buy this argument, as someone has already mentioned not being able to see properly is the handicap, not wearing glasses.

      • Anonymous :

        My brother started wearing glasses in third grade and was a four-season athlete all the way through high school. He got sports glasses. They’re even better now than they used to be. “They’re a problem for sports” is a really illegitimate reason for not getting your kid glasses. I am trying not to judge, but to me this is as egregious as skipping vaccines because you read on the Internet kids don’t really need them. Get your kid some d* mn glasses. No, he will not “grow out” of needing them.

        • Late post :

          Skipping vaccines endangers other people. Skipping glasses is unlikely to do that. But yeah, I totally agree that there is not a valid reason to keep your child from being able to see well.

      • Late post :

        ??? A friend of mine has two sons. One got glasses age three. The other was not walking yet when he got his. They were made for kids that little, with elastic that went around their heads. If your kid plays sports, there are glasses made for that. Idk if insurance would cover an “extra” pair for that, but surely your child’s ability to read and to participate is worth the price? (What could they even play with blurry vision? Linebacker, sure, but tennis or baseball require seeing a little ball moving fast).

      • Glasses OP :

        Relax folks. I do plan to get my kid glasses if the eye doctor says he needs them. I also do plan to see if there are eye exercises or reading in good light or any such simple thing he can do to slow the deterioration of his vision. And yes, the handicap is myopia and I am looking for ways to delay it as long as possible when it is genetically pretty likely my kid will develop it at some point – NOT looking to delay wearing glasses if they are needed to see better. But looking to delay the underlying cause.

        And if he does get them then my hope is yes, maybe he will grow out of needing them! I did (nearly. Power went from a high of -2.5 at one point to now -1.25 in one eye and the other eye also better) – I’m not sure why but I’d like to understand better what can cause and retard the vision changes. Maybe this is not the place but I welcome suggestions of where (reputable medical sources welcome) to start since yes, I don’t believe everything I read over the internet. There are a couple of popular books on amazon on better eyesight without glasses, for instance. Maybe there’s the place to start (and maybe try on myself for a start!).

  8. how much? :

    I need a gut check on how much to give for an 8th grade graduation party.

    Context: the kid’s dad is my dad’s cousin. We are not close with the family. I haven’t seen the kid in probably a decade! But I am close to his grandma (my great-aunt), and that’s the main reason I am invited.

    $50? $100? More? Less? I have absolutely no idea what’s standard these days.

    • Anonymous :

      To me, $50 sounds generous (but not inappropriately so) under those circumstances.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      25 bucks! Its not like he is moving out of the house to survive on his own like a high school graduation. Its just 8th grade!

    • lost academic :

      This is a thing you’d give money for? I might go with a card, or if we were close enough (close enough to already be giving presents regularly), something that would be specific to moving up to high school.

    • $50 is good. $100 if you can comfortably afford it and get a kick out of giving bigger gifts.

  9. gala dinner anon :

    Thanks to everyone for the advice about coming late to a charity gala. In the end, the meeting was cancelled, I went to the whole thing, and enjoyed the night out. Earlier in the day yesterday, I heard whispers that the other scheduled participants in the meeting also had things they really wanted to do in the evening, but that didn’t rise to the level of refusing the meeting. I then casually mentioned all of that to the company head’s administrative staff (who I’m on good terms with), and they managed to work out a different meeting time without anyone taking the fall for being unavailable. Backdoor methods for the win!

  10. Paging Anon at 6:53 :

    I responded to your post on yesterday’s Coffee Break this morning– I hope you are still reading the replies to your thread. Thinking of you and sending you hugs and mojo.

  11. Heading to Scotland and Ireland :

    We are hoping to go to these countries for vacation. Any tips about what are the must-sees in each? Anyone ever combined these two in a trip and have suggestions on itinerary?

    • Anonymous :

      How long do you have? With only one week, I’d pick one country and stay there. With 10+ days, I think you could do both.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      For both I say rent cars! Drive around.

      I went to the Isle of Skye in Scotland and absolutely loved it. One of the most gorgeous places I have ever been to.

      Buy this book used “The Most Amazing Scenic Journeys in Britain: Great Drives of Discovery Through England, Scotland and Wales” off Amazon or another website. Its so help to figure out the best routes to drive in Scotland.

      I would fly to Edinburgh. Spend a two days there getting over jet leg then rent a car and drive around doing a loop ending back in Edinburgh. Fly over to Dublin. Again spend 2 days in Dublin before driving around in a loop around Ireland.

      My favorites for Dublin included going to see Newgrange and going to the Kilmainham Gaol Museum. Outside of Dublin we drove up to the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      What kind of things do you like and when are you thinking of going? Also, will you be comfortable driving (other side of the road) or would you prefer to take trains/buses between cities.

      Tell us more and we can offer more specific recommendations… I lived in Scotland and have thoroughly travelled Ireland (my husband is Irish) and there are several other people here from England and Scotland.

      • Heading to Scotland and Ireland :

        We like museums and walking (as opposed to hiking), would love to go to places the locals frequent and meet people. Though we’re a bit uncomfortable with the idea of driving on the other side of the road, I’ve gotten the impression we’ll miss a lot if we don’t drive the more rural areas. No ideas yet about how to narrow down the trip — that’s what I’m seeking here. Thank you!

        • As a Scot I would agree that a car would be good. Public transport in the cities and bigger towns but once you get to the “highlands and islands” it gets very patchy both in routes covered and in frequency. Also, make sure you build lots of leeway into your timetable because as soon as you get off the main routes the roads can get small and twisty. As my old company discovered when they let someone with no knowledge of Scotland pick a transport route, not all minor roads on maps are the same. ;) Hearing a “boss” have to explain a delivery delay because he hadn’t taken the “rest and be thankful” detour into account (all 100+ mile of it) was priceless, especially the part of being pay several flocks of sheep.

          Skye is nice IF the weather is good, but if it’s not you won’t get nearly as much out of it. Glasgow and Edinburgh are great cities but completely different, I’d take the open top bus tours in both (in Edinburgh there are several but I like “the Edinburgh tour” which concentrates on the old and new towns the best). Edinburgh castle has great views but I’ve a soft spot for Stirling castle which has soooo much history as well.

          If you are heading to the highlands, the Pitlochry is a nice town which is geared up to tourists but is also really popular with Scots (like me) who want a relaxing break within a couple of hours of the city. Not far from that is Blair Castle which is THE most picture postcard Scottish county castle you will find.

          If you like walking take a look at the “West Highland Way”route. It’s really popular with British walkers and you can do as much or little as you want. Also, I’ve heard great things about the Fife Coastal Path. And there are lots of great walks centering around Loch Lomond. All three have websites, otherwise try Visit Scotland (the national tourist agency).

          Actually, when I think of it I’m sure you can book short (3-7day) tours of Scotland which would allow someone else to take the strain. I’m sure I’ve seen a shop on the Royal Mile which advertises them. Specifically for overseas tourists.

          • Agree to all of this…although I have a Edinburgh bias (spent a weekend in Dublin and declared it a less pretty, more expensive Edinburgh). I have a soft spot for Glasgow though – I think the gridded streets appeal to my American soul.

            In Edinburgh – pop into Parliament for a cup of tea if you can – it’s a super funky building (people love it or hate it) but gives you a bit of context for what’s going on in Scotland. The Botanics are amazing depending on the time of year and walking along the Water of Leith, with cafe stops is lovely. Cafe recs include Love Crumbs, Peter’s Yard, and Eteaket.

            As an afternoon excursion from Edinburgh, North Berwick is lovely if the weather is nice.

            Stirling Castle is better than Edinburgh but I actually prefer some of the smaller castles (Aberdour etc). Pitlochry is great as well.

          • Anonymous :

            Edinburgh is more historic and pretty whilst Glasgow was the second city of the country (UK) for so long and so is more ex-industrial but impressive. In Glasgow I love the Kelvingrove museum for it’s totally whacky mixed collection.

            Personally I hate the parliment building, I regard it as a mega expensive carbuncle (with bits that drop off regularly). It just isn’t particularly suited to a cold and wet climate.

            A lot of recommendations will chanege depending on the time of year you visit. When are you looking at?

        • I did a tour with Vagabond Tours in Ireland it was one of the best travel things I ever did–they took us out in converted Land Rovers into the back roads and country, we stayed in little towns in B&Bs and really saw more than just the tourist sites. The guide was incredible. I adored them so much that I tried to find something similar for my own upcoming Scotland tour (leaving in less than two weeks!).

          This is the link for Vagabond:

          I also loved the literary pub crawl in Dublin. That city is adorable and so walkable. For the most charming city I saw in Ireland, head to Galway (and if you go Vagabond, you’ll more thank likely at least stop there for a bit).

    • Anonymous :

      In Ireland, I think you can spend a couple days in Dublin and Galway and then just drive around the rest of the time. Maybe fly into one, see the sights, pick up a car, drive around, and then end at the other and fly to Scotland or home. I would get a travel guide and knock off the major sites you want to see – ring of Kerry, Blarney Castle, other castles, Aran Islands, Cliffs of Moher, Connemara, Newgrange, Book of Kells, beer/whisky, etc. It’s all pretty well out there, no secrets or hidden tips. Tourism is such a big industry that you don’t really even need to make reservations in advance typically. You can kind of roll in to most towns or cities and find a room if you prefer making your own agenda as you go.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I combined both, plus England and Wales in three weeks. But it was years ago, so I can’t remember specifics. It was a great trip, though!

      We did a loop by car. Entered Scotland from York, set up base in a B&B in Callander, Scotland. Took a ferry to Belfast, then meandered around to Dublin via Dingle, Cork, and Waterford.

      My favorite thing, besides pub food and landscape, was visiting the Waterford crystal factory (House of Waterford Crystal). It was amazing watching the artisans work!

      If you take a ferry, take a high speed for the smoother ride. We did on our return. The choppy waters were brutal. Even if you don’t get seasick, other people do and there’s vomit everywhere. It was really awful.

  12. Piling on to the vacation recs, I just committed to going to London with a girlfriend for 10 days in October!
    (I would totally use the search function on this site, but I can’t figure out how, I’m sure this has been asked before!)

    • Pro tip- search London on Cap Hill Style and read the comment thread with 200+ responses. (Not meant as snarky, just remembering that there was a lot of good info in there!)

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      I can help for London plans but all my recs are all google docs. If you post an email I will send them to you!

    • Anonymous :

      In google, type “ search term” but replace search term with the term you want to search.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Tea at Sketch!
      Harry Potter and the Cursed Child if you can stomach paying scalper prices (totally, totally, TOTALLY worth it)
      Martinis at the bar in the Dukes Hotel (and stay there, too, if you’re willing to splurge)
      Winston Churchill’s War Room
      Fortnum & Mason (smaller and less crowded than Harrod’s and my super fave, especially the downstairs food hall)
      The London Eye

      • Greensleeves :

        I saw the Cursed Child in March and agree that it is worth every penny!

        Also, LondonLeisureYear’s list of recommendations is amazing.

    • Late post : has discounts on popular London attractions and also sells admission to things you might not have thought of or know how to arrange otherwise, like an Indian cookery class or London film walk tour. I once gave someone a falconry walk with a hawk (obviously outside the city) from the site.

    • Late post :

      Replace the “z”s with dots and check out this website buyagiftzcozuk

      Besides discounts (I have zero idea if they are competative) on popular things, like the Tower of London and the London Eye, it has things you may not have heard of or know how to organize, like walking tours focusing on Jack the Ripper or movie locations, Indian cookery classes, or a falconry walk on which you learn to hunt with a hawk.

    • This is late, but in case you’re still checking here are a few recommendations:

      Camden Market for eating, shopping, and people watching
      The Tate Modern and especially the Saatchi Gallery if you like modern and contemporary art
      See a show on the West End

      Have fun!!

  13. Late post :

    In the post before this one, Kat makes the comment “at least it wasn’t final sale”. I think she means that she could return the item if she decides she doesn’t need it after all. I just returned several hundred dollars worth of clothing and shoes, rejects from several different orders to Nordstrom Rack yesterday. One of the two people processing the returns was cheerful and friendly; the other was not. How normal is it to return things? Have you returned anything lately?

    • I probably keep 1/3 of what I order. Sometimes I order 2 sizes, sometimes I’m not sure if the color or fit will be a match for me, etc. sometimes I order a “ride along” to meet a free shipping minimum.

      But without the shipping in the first place, I’d buy a LOT less. Easy to browse on a boring conference call.

    • Anonymous :

      It’s totally normal.

    • Return-er :

      I return maybe 75% of what I buy, mainly bc I prefer to try things on at home. They don’t like it, it is their problem!!

    • I return a good 50% of what I buy. I don’t shop that much, so it doesn’t become a problem anywhere. But stuff either works or it doesn’t, and if it doesn’t work I’m not keeping it. I never try to return things that aren’t return-eligible or get obnoxious about it, but I also don’t let an unfriendly salesclerk keep me from returning things.

  14. Nieman run :

    I have a chance to shop at a Nieman Marcus this weekend, a rare treat. What HG product should I look at there that I can only get there? Beauty product, perfume, something else? Would love your ideas.

    • They have some fragrances, shoes and purses from designers that are “Only at Neiman.” They also have some things they customize. You can look online to get a preview. If you want the full customer service experience, call ahead to make an appt with a personal shopper.

  15. Re: Suits I read your column from a while ago ” Must a Blazer BUTTON to Fit?” It’s such a quirky niche issue that I didn’t think any body had except me, but it seems to have been on Kats mind too and many readers. I’m commenting on it here in the current account about suits, and suit jackets. I’ts a question I,ve had as a lawyer – to button or to not button a suit jacket. In court I wanted my suit to button up (for standing in court) so I bought suits that were comfortable but snug buttoned up during standing and had very few buttons like maybe one or three, but looked better unbuttoned. My issue was that I liked the unbuttoned look, it’s slimming, plus you can show some colour in a blouse, but I didn’t like the extra material flapping about when my jacket was unbuttoned at the office particularly when I bent down to pick up files from my desk so I devised a way to keep my jackets (and sweaters) open about 4 inches all the way down the front but not flap by sewing a small button to the inside of the front edge on one side and sewing a clear filament loop that was four inches long to the other side. It is almost invisible to the casual observer, it just seemed like I had unusually well behaved jacket lapels.

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