Suit of the Week: Theory

Theory Shinna BlazerFor 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.

Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t think I’ve seen the “Shinna” blazer from Theory before. Theory suits in general are great (this one is wool and lined), but on the Shinna blazer I like the slightly wide vents at back and the topstitched darts on the front. The jacket (Theory Shinna Blazer) is $395, and the skirt (Theory Tenida Skirt) is $200. (Oh, and I can’t let those shoes go without mention — I know Acne is a hot brand right now, but: yuck. Not my cup of tea at all.)

Theory Shinna Blazer Theory Tenida Skirt



  1. Attention Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler:

    We Love Colors has brown (and lots of other color) fishnets! Wasn’t sure if I posted this too late in the other thread.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      Thanks. I’ve learned that class + Corporette = Waste of Tuition Money, so I try to stay off.

  2. hip hop anonymous :

    What is up with that model’s shoes?

    • And really, for the love of all things holy, who came up with the terrible brand name “Acne”?

      • Just thinking this. I am going to make a line of shirts called “Bacne”.

        • Which will coordinate nicely with my line of pants called “But*ne.”

          (hoping the * will avoid moderation)

      • My thougts exactly.

      • Acne is Swedish, so the dermatological reference in English-speaking countries is just an unfortunate coincidence.

        And the shoes style, where part of the toe box and side is cut away to reveal the arch of the foot, is called d’Orsay. You usually see it in pumps more than flats.

        //Nerdery complete.//

        • I’m a stupid today. Those are more like a reverse d’Orsay shoe-type product on her feet.

        • Yeah, but Acne is an acronym for an English phrase, so I don’t think it’s unfortunate but rather intentional – clearly the person who came up with the name spoke English.

        • I always appreciate nerdery of all kinds, but really, if you were an apparel brand hoping to conquer the world, wouldn’t you check to see whether your proposed brand name had any unfortunate connotations in the major languages of your proposed territory?

          Just sayin’.

          • I’m from Sweden and the term ‘acne’ is used in Sweden to describe the same skin problem as in English, so there’s no question that whoever came up with the name knew. I always thought it was an odd choice of name.

      • The line is called Acne because wearing hideous shoes like that will make you fell like you have a really, really bad case of acne.

        They’re just being truthful. GOD.

      • I AGREE. It is really DUMB to come up with such a DUMB name. Why did NOT they name it PIMPEL? FOOEY!

        If I am going to pay $200 for a suit, I want a good name.

        I like the suit, but the pencil skirt will be a little tight around my hips.

        The manageing partner loves to kid me about my hips, but I told him to stop b/c he was MARRIED. FOOEY on him for saying this. FOOEY!

        I hope to have my own BOYFREIND who can tell him the same thing by valentines’ day.

        • Ellen, if you don’t have anything funny to say best not to say anything at all.

    • Equity's Darling :

      I’m going to be the voice of dissent and say that as much as I hate the name of the brand, I like the shoes.

      I also love the suit. This is a perfect work outfit for me. :)

      • Love Shoes :

        I sort of like the shoes too. They’re odd for the suit… But I feel they may not be that bad for jeans.

    • Those shoes would look great with pants. Really, really long pants.

  3. Gooseberry :

    Agreed! What is happened on that poor woman’s feet???

  4. Diana Barry :

    I like this suit (note that the website DOES show the jacket without the sleeves pushed up!). But those are definitely witchy shoes (although I love the tiny heel).

  5. Yowza – those shoes are as hideous as their namesake. I call emperor’s new clothes on that trend. Cute suit though.

    Also, can I just share with you all how excited I am that my LS loans are now below $50K as of today?? They started in the $175K range (08 grad) and I just paid a massive chunk (my bonus made Citi very, very happy). Can’t wait until they’re gone for good – public goal: gone by next February!

    • Magdeline :

      That is really excellent!!! I bet you feel a huge weight off your shoulders. I’m feeling the crushing weight of loans right now, and I can’t wait to be in your position. Good luck with your goal; you’re well on your way to being loan free!

    • MeliaraofTlanth :

      Wow, that is exciting–good job!
      (It always makes me happy to hear that eventually these stupid law school loans do get paid back and I can dream that one day, I too will be below 6 figures in loans)

    • karenpadi :

      Awesome! Congrats! Your goal is definitely do-able based on your progress! 125k in three years, wow!

    • Tired Squared :

      Congrats–what an impressive achievement, especially since you just graduated ~3 years ago!

    • Yay! Is it sad how many of my life goals are built around milestones in my student loan payment plan (like when we get below six figures for example). :-P

    • Thanks for the encouragement, ladies! @TCFKAG, what have you done to celebrate? Although I buy myself something nice out of the bonus before whisking it away, my biggest “milestone” has been that I’ve always wanted to get rid of it before having kids (bad enough saving for their college, much less paying back my own education at the same time). We’re still in no rush on the babies (somehow the closer I get to the age I thought I’d want to start trying (30), the less I’m in a hurry…), but knowing it’s gone will feel so freeing!

      • Kids are a big one for us. Plus there are a couple of vacations that are premised on certain milestones.

        But none of these have really happened yet as I haven’t hit too many of these milestones yet…so yeah…things might change.

    • forgot to say! Best of luck / determination to all of you in getting rid of yours as well. At first I was so scared of the number that I just paid the minimum every month to avoid actually facing, in black and white on the screen, the mountain I had to dig out from.

    • Anonymous :

      Congrats! I just graduated in May with roughly the same debt as you, so you’re kind of an inspiration :)

      And in a similar vein, I think my servicer is going to be very happy when my tax refund finally comes through.

    • Wow, I was in almost the same boat, a little more than $175, 08 grad…but I’ve never received a bonus and I’m still above $175. Don’t mind the jealousy emanating from the West Coast over here!!

  6. Are there any maternity clothes stores/sites similar to Boden? They don’t have exactly what I want, but I love the feel of their clothes. I am looking for a fitted and somewhat colorful dress for my upcoming shower. I feel like I look like a walking tent in most of the standard empire waist maternity dresses, so I really want something fitted like the Boden flattering jersey dress. I would love ideas! So far I’ve checked Shabby Apple, Gap and Etsy with no luck.

    • Anony-mouse :

      Honestly, the dresses that I received the most compliments on (by far) are the ones I bought from Target. The website has a lot larger selection than the stores, so I would check out there. Also, I know Gilt Groupe has a lot of maternity clothing sales on and off, but you usually find those in the “Kids” and not the “Womens” sections.

      • Same here – a plain, fitted cotton Liz Lange dress from Target (second-hand, no less) got me so many compliments yesterday!

    • Diana Barry :

      Asos? Isabella Oliver? Picchu?

      • 6 pm has a lot of clearance merchandise and I noticed a few maternity tops.

    • Check Nordstrom online. They usually have very cute maternity dresses and they go on sale often.

      • I swear that Nordstrom used to have a ton of cute maternity clothes, but they don’t seem to carry them anymore! It’s weird.

    • My BF had a great sweater dress that she got from the GAP. She wore it all the time during the last part of her pregnancy.

    • I liked Isabella Oliver and Japanese Weekend. Also Gap and Target. Target seems to be very hit and miss, however.

    • Well, this might sound a tad weird, but what are you looking for, and what size? I was pregnant recently and bought a Boden maternity dress that I never ended up wearing ever; it’s a US size 2. It’s the double layer dress (BP007) in an out of stock color (purple smudge dot).

  7. Long-time reader, first-time commenter. Love the look of this suit; I’m still looking for the right Theory suit fit for me, but this one has great potential (I hope, I hope)!

    Also, apologies for the early threadjack/question, but I’m desperate for etiquette advice here: I spent much of the last month working with a small team on a fairly high-profile project proposal that will be significant to the organization if it goes forward. Today I got a handwritten note in interoffice mail from the head of the company, personally thanking me for my efforts.

    My question: how do I respond?

    • I think you could send her/him a short email thanking them for the kind note and saying that you really have enjoyed working on the project, etc.

    • Put it up in your office and keep up the good work. That’s a great compliment.

    • You don’t respond. Save it and take it out and look at it when you need encouragement. You obviously work for a company with a culture that values its employees.

    • Tired Squared :

      You can send a quick email if you want to, just letting them know that you appreiciated the opportunity/etc.

      However, in your shoes I probably wouldn’t respond–but I would definitely keep that note on your desk or in a drawer or something. On a good day it will make your day even better, and on a bad day it will remind you that you’re awesome!

    • Keep it somewhere safe but where you can reference it when you want a lift, plus scan it and send a copy to your immediate supervisor (or whoever keeps your personnel file).

  8. I seem to remember shoes similar to those in the 80s. A trend best left in the 80s. Nice classic suit.

  9. oooh, love this suit! I almost bought a theory suit the other day – deeply discounted, too – but they were all out of my size in the pants. It was a very sad day.

  10. Magdeline :

    I was feeling so lousy this morning (too little sleep/crazy boss/imminent deadline), but I just discovered a great tension headache medicine (acetaminophen/caffeine combination) on my lunch hour, and I am now feeling so much better. (It is a high dosage of acetaminophen- 1000 mg- so definitely not for every day, but for today, it had been so perfect.)

    Just thought that I would share my happy discovery and the happy turnaround in my day!

    • When I get migraines it’s 1500mg of tylenol every three hours plus black coffee!

      • 800mg of Motrin/ibuprofen and caffeine for me, but I have to catch the migraine early or it won’t work…

        • Interesting. I do the same. But it only works at the very beginning.

          Otherwise, I have a mild prescribed narcotic that actually contains caffeine. I take that if I don’t catch the migraine early.

          • Nothing works for me. I employ distraction until the aura goes away, then sit in a dark room if I can find one, and deal with the headache. If I can, I go to bed, but that obviously only works on weekends. Afterwards, a hot bath. BUT-oh bliss-NEXT day a head and neck massage works wonders on the residual vascular headache. The hot bath and massage, added to any drugs, might be helpful.

  11. Love the shirt under the jacket. Too bad it is $200.

    Annoying things that have happened today:
    1.) Office acquired a corporate discount to Joseph A. Bank which is having a huge sale on suits this weekend and employees get an even larger discount. JAB sells men’s clothes only. Boo.

    2.) While looking over the time my AA entered for the month and checking my pre-bills I caught time my AA didn’t enter which would have cost the firm a couple thousand dollars. Instead of being happy I caught the error before bills went out I got reamed out by billing person in front of several staff members for not editing the AA’s entries before pre-bills went out. When other staff member piped up and said “no problem, I fixed it already and re-ran the pre-bill for you” billing person said to her “you shut your mouth.” Awkwardness and grumpiness all around today. Granted, my office is normally all sunshine and kittens so I can’t really complain.

    3.) I have PMS so number 2 made me want to cry instead of act like a normal capable lawyer. Pretty sure everyone else knew I was fighting back tears.

    4.) Husband just texted me to say “we are out of printer ink.” Somehow suggesting he pick some up on the way home from the gym turned into an argument. See number 3. I guess I was just supposed to teleport some ink to him from my office while he worked from home.

    5.) I have to leave early for a board meeting and just found out I have to file a motion and prepare a subpoena by the end of the day.

    SKITTLES! (just wanted to say something fun and happy.)

    • To commiserate, I went over the edge, not once, but TWICE in the same day, both times almost resulting in tears. I had the whole blotchy face/puffy eye thing going on, and looked like total h*ll when I tried to return to the meetings. Then came home and had a fight with husband over something stupid. And, I didn’t get to work out all week, so that made it all worse! On a brighter note, the weekend is just 2.5 days away :) Feel better!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Ugh, I’m sorry about your day. And I would be REALLY offended if anyone ever told me “you shut your mouth,” much less in a professional capacity. Poor Other Staffer!

    • ChocCityB&R :

      Husbands can be crazy, co-workers crazier, and it doesn’t take PMS to notice and be impacted by it. You are taking it all in stride though, so congrats on having such a positive outlook!

    • A fellow blonde lawyer, not having the best of days either but I just had a spoonful of Nutella and peanut butter each and I truly feel better already!

      • Black-haired doctor, but my day has kind of sucked too. Seaweed salad! (I’m sick for the third time this winter and don’t want to make it worse.)

      • Oooh! I buy pretzels and dip them into Nutella for a boost. I love Nutella.

    • I’m sorry about your crappy day. I am a real b*tch to be around when I have PMS so I feel ya.

      The printer ink – Do you have Amazon Prime? I buy printer ink there and have it shipped one -day shipping when events like this occur, especially because I always happen to run out of printer ink when I am the most busy and unable to run out to Staples/Target to get some.

    • Anonymous :

      I just did something sort of socially stupid in the office and now feel like an idiot.

      I hope your day gets better too. :-)

    • Oh Blonde Lawyer. Nothing to say, just *hugs*.

    • Gah, I have been having a total crap day as well. Maybe it’s something in the air.

      One stupid mistake after another, coupled with brain-deadedness, a secretary who is on useless mode today, and cramps.

    • I feel for you. Thought I’d amuse you… I got an invite to a focus group for women who are between the ages of 40 and 60 and shop at Nordstrom and Talbots. I’m guessing that it’s on a weekday so I won’t be able to make it, but if it’s at night or on the weekend, I’ll go and stress the huge difference in those companies’ customer service policies.

  12. anonymous :

    I’m not sure if this is coming out of a terrible work month, but there is nothing like a couple of bad weeks at work to put you on goinhouse.

    Has anyone on the board gone in house from a Biglaw as a junior associate?

    My situation is that I am a 3rd year in commercial litigation, and fairly recently lateraled to another big law firm in my current city, from another big law firm. I am not from this city, and while I like it, I’m not thrilled with it. I’m a renter, completely single, and have a few close friends here, but nothing, honestly, that I wouldn’t have in another city. A junior-level in-house position with a bank just came up in the smaller city where my family is from. I get homesick on a regular basis, and even in good times wish that I could have gone home (I resume-dropped, but was unsuccessful, when coming out of law school in the city where my family is). I can’t see myself being in private practice my entire career, but worry that it is too soon to go in house.

    If you go in house to a junior position, what is the career path like? What should I expect? If I apply, what questions should I ask to determine whether this is right for me? Also, what would I expect as a junior level counsel position at a national bank as far as salary goes? Raises? Bonuses? Is there always the possiblity of going back out to private practice if I decide it isn’t for me after a few years?

    And, am I just doing this because I’m homesick and having a bad work month?

    • No advice, but I am interested in hearing the responses. 3rd year associate in big law, pretty happy, but may ultimately want a job with more balance.

      • I didn’t come from BigLaw (more regional large firm), but I came in-house as a 5th year associate, and so far I LOVE it (I was a litigator when I practiced). I’m at a Fortune 50 company that’s not financial services, so I can’t speak for what a bank would be like specifically. Overall, I get paid more, the hours are MUCH more reasonable, I love the people I work with, and it’s really fun to be involved in the “business” side of things (instead of always responding to litigation, etc.). As far as career paths, my company is big on promoting attorneys into non-legal management roles if you’re interested, but the law department is also big enough for significant career growth. Compensation is commeuserate with what I was making, and my bonus will be much larger than it was at the firm. Finally, I’ve heard from private practice attorneys that they would welcome me back with open arms, because I have the unique perspective of having been the “client” – so I would really have a lot to offer to potential clients.

        Let me know if you have any more specific questions!

        • I’m not the original poster but interested in hearing more about your experience J, especially how you found your in-house position. I’m a 5th year litigator (in NY) and I’m pretty convinced that I would like to go in-house within the next year or so. Any advice?

          • I got lucky – a friend mentioned that her sister-in-law worked at this company in my current department, so I asked her if she’d be willing to grab coffee. They happened to be hiring at the time, so she passed me resume on – and now I’m here! I’ve gotten almost all of my jobs in a similar fashion, so I truly believe in the “power of networking.” :)

            That being said, I think you can just keep an eye on companies’ websites (when you’re searching, think about using terms other than “attorney” or “lawyer” – my company refers to the legal team as “counsel”), get out to bar events, etc. I have a few friends who have been enticed in-house from their former clients – so if you do a good job and get close to a client as outside counsel, they might ask you to interview for a position.

            I think going in-house as a litigator can be more difficult, since many of the positions are more transactional. I happen to be in a speciality area (employment law), but most large companies have a least a few lititors in-house to manage litigation and outside counsel. I think flexibility in what you’re willing to do is key – you’ll find that the opportunities to grow and move around are significant once you get in-house, so don’t get fixated on finding that “perfect” position right off the bat.

            Let me know if you have any more specific questions – I’m happy to help!

    • anonymous :

      I should add that I lateraled from another big law firm because I was absolutely miserable there. I am finding some of the same problems with my current firm. A lot if it has to do with the law firm model and how the private practice is set up. I have been in contact with friends who have gone in house and love it, but all of them went as more senior associates.

    • What about applying for federal or state clerkships in a city where you want to live in, either back home or somewhere else? As a third year, you would be applying off cycle and it is much less competitive. You also wouldn’t burn too many bridges because a lot of firms understand that people want to clerk, and you could always tell a white lie and say that you are interested in coming back.

      When I clerked, I met lots of folks who had worked at a law firm for 2-3 years before. After the clerkship, many of them either went back to their old firm, to a new firm, or did government or fellowships. Definitely something to consider.

      I’m clearly biased because I loved clerking and the judges whom I clerked for.

      • anonymous :

        I hate to say this because it is not a very popular opinion, but I have little to no interest in clerking. In fact, the more people I talk to that did clerkships, the less I want to do it. Originally coming out of law school I thought about it, but as a lot of my friends did, I heard about their days and what they did as a clerk and thought it sort of sounded terrible.

        I guess I am a lot more business-minded. The things I like about the practice of law is the day-to-day managment of litigation, not complicated nuanced legal analysis.

        • You might still be interested in a district court clerkship; those are more “managerial.”

        • AnonInfinity :

          I’m so with you anonymous. I was extremely competitive for clerkships and most of the associates at my firm did one, but I decided not to apply because the work would seem like actual torture to me.

        • Stick to your guns. I thought clerking sounded horrible but all professors kept pushing me to do it so I applied. I got an offer from a district court which I accepted and I hate it. I’ll get through my year but this has been a very unenjoyable experience. If you know what your passion is, follow it.

    • I went in-house in my 3rd year… I didn’t come from a big firm but at my last firm, I worked the same hours as my friends in a big firm and thus had no life. I’m typing this quickly as I don’t have much time so please excuse typos.

      I’ve been with my company for 4 years. I love it. Love Love Love it. You have more control being in-house. I still feel like I have clients because I consider each department as a client. I even “rainmake” by making sure I talk with each department on a regular basis. Their confidence in me and their need for my support is job security which is why I consider it as “rainmaking”.

      I’m not in a financial institution so I can’t speak to what the going salary is for in-house position. I imagine it depends on the size of the insitution itself and location.

      What to expect… hmm. Just like a firm, the culture of legal departments vary and the roles of each attorney varies. Take some time and think about what kind of environment you want to be in. How many hours to do want to work on a weekly basis? Where, geographically, do you want to be? How many people do you want to work for/with? Is there an industry that interests you? Do you care if you work for a huge company or are you okay working for a smallish one? Then, once you ask those questions, ask if this position either fits in those answers or gets you close enough for now. Don’t let the tail (job opening) wag the dog (your future).

      Regarding questions to ask, some of this you can figure out through solid research but… you need to know how many attorneys are in the legal department, how the work is divided (do some attorneys deal with certain issues or are they all generalists?), what the role the GC has (some GCs assist with non-legal things like serve as Secretary), if the dept is small the role of all the other attorneys (or, if large, ask the role of each group), what types of legal issues are outsourced (this will help you determine how much and what kind of work they do in house), what does the interviewer enjoy about working for the company (this will help you figure out what the corporate culture is), what the company looks for in their in-house counsel is a great way to determine the company’s priorities (are they going for good fit, knowledge only, ability to work in silos, ability to work as a team, etc).

      Expect to work your hind off, especially in the beginning. The learning curve when going in-house is very steep. I worked the same hours as I did at my firm for about the first 10 months or so but it paid off. I still work hard but I have a great work-life balance. Some weeks when I have really important projects I work from 8 to 8, some weeks I stroll in at 9 and leave at 3. I rarely work while I’m on vacation and rarely work weekends. Because I keep close contact with all departments, I can anticipate what’s coming, I’ve found patterns in the work flow and now I can plan ahead pretty well. It’s hard to do when you are at a firm.

      Career path varies by company. Some encourage you to move into other non-legal departments, some just keep you where you are. But, if you find yourself stuck and not able to move up the ladder, it’s much easier to get an in-house job once you’re already in-house.

      Raises and bonuses depend on your company so that’s something to ask before you take the job (when to ask depends on the interview process)

      Private practice will always welcome you back. If you specialize in an area now, then work in-house for 10 years and never touch that area and then want to jump back to that original area, you may struggle. But, generally, firms love to have in-house counsel join them. Former in-house counsel have relationships with current or future clients, have insight into what clients want and have something in common with clients which makes them more “relatable”.

      Sorry for the flood of info. Good luck!!

      • In-House Europe :

        Agree with all of the above. My old firm has made it clear that I am very welcome to come back anytime. But I really enjoy being in-house. And as far as your qualifications, the other people in-house probably started the same as you – coming from a law firm. So they already know that you don’t know how to work in house and will be ready to train you.

        And being close to home and family IMO becomes more and more important as you get older.

        I saw go for it – and keep us updated!!

  13. Anonymous :

    Does anyone else get the “stack overflow” error message when they open this site? It takes about 20 clicks to get rid of.

    • Yes, I do all the time. What is that?

      • Anonymous :

        Yes most of the time – very annoying and hope it can be resolved. Thanks for bringing it up.

      • I kept meaning to mention that! And for some reason yesterday and today it’s taken even longer than usual to get rid of.

    • YES. Super annoying.

    • Yes, but only when I access the site using my work laptop on a wireless internet connection. It’s still annoying though! I normally just hold down the Enter key until it goes away.

    • I get that all the time on internet explorer, but never on firefox.

      • SF Bay Associate :


        • I use chrome and have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • I switched to chrome because I was getting the stack overflow issue. Of course, I have to use IE for most work-related sites, as well as government sites, like adp for my fsas.

    • Me too…and clicking didn’t help.

  14. Threadjack, sorry. This is probably not the best forum to post this question, but, for those of you who have kids, how the heck do you manage to prepare meals that are healthy, palatable to both you and the kids, and that won’t make you gain weight? I am getting so frustrated! My weight has been edging up bit by bit every year since I’ve had kids, and it’s mostly due to my change in eating habits post-kids. I am now at the point where I really need to lose weight. My husband and I used to eat big salads and stir fries and other veggie-centered meals for dinner pre kids. Now (with early elementary-aged kids) we find ourselves eating a whole lot of pasta, chicken nuggets, etc. The kids are pretty good at eating vegetables, but just plain steamed or raw, nothing mixed together. I tend towards more flavorful/ethnic foods. To complicate things, I am/was semi-vegetarian (dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish okay) and do not cook meat or poultry rom scratch (hence, chicken nuggets or rotisserie chicken from the supermarket for the kids). I feel like I just don’t have the time or energy to prepare different meals for the adults vs. the kids. I am happiest eating vegetarian, but haven’t been very successful in coming up with a repertoire of vegetarian meals that the kids will eat. We do vegetarian chili, and also shrimp, salmon (they don’t like other fish, not even fish sticks) and occasionally other seafood. One kid will eat tofu, the other won’t touch it. I feel like I need to make sure we have some form of protein every day. Beans and stews in general have not been hits with the kids. I would really appreciate any suggestions of specific kid-friendly but healthy dishes to try, or any general ideas on how to eat healthy post kids.

    • I don’t have kids, but you might want to check out Eating well (link to follow). A friend gifted me with all of her back copies when she moved, and when I decided to start eating healthier for the new year I’ve been making a lot of recipes from them. Most of them are fairly easy and there’s a good combination of vegetarian and meatless.

      In terms of protein- I eat a lot of homemade hummus (takes 10 minutes, tops to make). Would your kids be willing to eat that?

      • Here’s the website- I like the fact that everything’s fairly healthy, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out if something’s healthy or not before I make it.

      • I’m sorry for all the comments, I’m on a cooking healthy kick. This pot pie was a huge hit with my husband and male roommate. It’s easy to forget its vegetarian when eating it. I’d skip the biscuit topping and just use pie crust or something.

      • Baba Ghanoush is also pretty easy to make. I found a Macedonian recipe with walnuts and it turned out delicious.
        Also, if you steam vegetables, you can give them plain to the kids and season the adult portions with herb mixes, curry etc. It’s OK to use sauce from a jar – not all have scary ingredients; you save time and get a grown-up, tasty meal + health benefits of turmeric and capsicum.
        And how could I forget – soups! You can make them with barley, lentil, even steel-cut oatmeal; you can freeze them ahead in single portions.
        Summer rolls with or without shrimp are also an option.

    • I am really sympathetic. I find it very difficult as well, and I’m not vegetarian. And with respect to weight control, I’ve basically come to the conclusion that pasta is the enemy. Nevertheless, a handful of scattered ideas …

      1) Check out the blog “Dinner a Love Story” which I love. Lots of recipes, but mostly, just a helpful conversation about how to make dinner work.
      2) What about eggs for dinner? Omelets, frittatas, even plain old scrambled eggs — all of those can work. (You can always do egg whites for yourself, or a 2:1 ratio)
      3) How about Mexican food? You can do a make-your-own burrito bar. Refried beans are a great source of protein and might be more palatable in a burrito. This is a great meal for you, too, because you can skip the tortilla and the cheese and it becomes very friendly.
      4) Black-bean veggie burgers? (You skip the bun, or choose a whole wheat bun)
      5) How do your kids feel about lentils? I love lentil soup, but you can also do lentils on the stove as a side dish with salmon. It’s really delicious.
      6) I love shrimp wraps — shrimp sauteed and wrapped in a tortilla with sour cream, basil, cabbage, and mango. So good. And like the Mexican food idea, you can break the meal down into component parts so everyone gets to eat the parts they like best.
      7) Try switching from pasta-based meals to whole-grain based meals. The whole grains are more filling and have protein in them. For example, we make this pasta dish that is super easy with orzo, chicken, feta, and peas. But you could switch and use barley instead of orzo and it will be more satisfying — which is good for portion control.
      8) Last idea — I think the protein idea is important for you, because in my experience, protein helps immensely with weight control. But how important is it for your kids? If they’re eating cheese, or peanut butter, or whole grains, or nuts — maybe they’re getting enough protein through other sources so that they don’t need a protein on the dinner table. It might feel liberating to discover that they get plenty of protein through breakfast.

    • On the tofu issue, have you tried dry frying it? I rarely made tofu before I discovered this method, and now we’re buying tofu from Costco. You cut it up into the size pieces you want, press it in between paper towels (I don’t usually do this for very long), and then cook it in a nonstick, preheated skillet (usually medium-to-high heat) until it browns, flipping so the bigger sides get brown. That really helps get the water out. Then, you can soak it in sauce while your veggies are cooking, and throw it in at the end. I’ve also eaten it plain with dipping sauce, and sometimes we’ll dry fry several servings ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, so we just need to throw it in a stirfry. Might make it more appealing to the one that won’t eat tofu.

      • Fashion Faux Pas :

        Broiling tofu is another great way to get the water out and a chewier texture. I cut it into cubes, spray with cooking spray and pop under the broiler in a single layer until it’s golden brown. We also make our own marinated, baked tofu, but that’s more complicated (but more delicious).

        • +1 to tofu broiling. my vegetarian house stays away from other soy-based meat replacements that aren’t fermented, but tofu avoids a lot of the typical soy problems.

          we cut tofu in slices, brush with sesame oil and soy sauce, and broil until crispy on the outside. I could eat an entire block, just munching. delish.

    • Formerly Preggo Angie :

      I don’t prepare different meals for my kids, but let’s say I make fajitas – basically Mexican stir-fry. I know my son won’t eat bell pepper, but I make sure he has some rice (20 minutes to make), beans (I usually pre-make them on weekends and freeze them, or use canned), meat, and tortilla with some cheese on it. Then I load my plate with the veggies, eliminate or use a light hand with the cheese, and go from there. I guess what I’m saying is I eat a fraction of the “main” meal and load the rest of my plate with veggies or salad. And Eating Well is a great magazine.

      • This is what I do too – we have 3 boys, middle is picky. Often our dinner is grilled/broiled meat (really easy to learn how to do, and pretty quick), veggies or salad, and some type of starchy side dish. Dh usually starts dinner as he is home first, and I admit that the side dish is often a processed mix, but I just try to eat less of the side dish & more of the veggies – at least 1/3 of my plate if not 1/2 the plate.

        How do you feel about crockpots? Tuesdays are our craziest nights so we always prep something for the crock pot the night before. Toss in some chicken & some bbq sauce, or teriyaki sauce, oldest ds starts rice in the cooker when he gets home from school, add a salad, and dinner is on the table in 5 minutes. We also do stew, soup (chicken, stock, baby carrots & baby potatoes, some thyme – yum).

        When we have pasta we always have it with tomato sauce, so I try to have a smaller serving of noodles & a larger serving of sauce to help balance everything.

    • Research, Not Law :

      We do a lot of holding out ingredients or just making sure there are a couple of things that everyone will eat. So for example, if my husband and I want curry, my daughter gets rice and some of the veggies that were used for our curry, but steamed in the microwave or raw. Same with salads or stir fries; we eat the final product, and she gets veggies/beans and a little cup of salad dressing for dipping. Or, we’ll do a rotisserie chicken with a few sides, making sure at least one of them is a vegetable that she will eat.

      Have you tried edemame? My daughter doesn’t like tofu, but she LOVES soy beans. You can buy it pre-cooked and frozen, so it just takes a minute to boil or cook in the microwave.

      Ultimately, we’ve gone towards the philosophy of exposure to a variety of healthy foods and assuming it all works out over the week, rather than fretting about a given meal. There are some meals where we offer a bit of everything at the start, knowing that we’ll likely be serving her yogurt and whole wheat toast, or canned chicken noodle soup with cheese crackers and apples, or something else balanced and easy. She does surprise us, though. Last week we expected to need a back-up, but she instead ate her body weight in pork roast.

      I’ve also found portion control is key, especially on the chicken nugget and tater tot nights. I personally find it very easy to eat too much, even when I know it’s a high-calorie meal. On those nights, we serve something like apple slices and carrot sticks FIRST, so that she and I will fill up on those.

      • I could have written this reply; this is pretty much what we do.

        We eat a lot of ethnic food, curries and stir fries etc., and the kids (younger than yours, preschooler and toddler) tend to get a “deconstructed” version of what we are eating if it’s something they won’t eat. Although a lot of the time they surprise us with what they are willing to eat if it’s put in front of them. The older one will usually eat most of the curries that we eat, he just likes the components in separate places on his plate (but in the curry sauce). Younger one gets the veggies steamed in the microwave and pieces of chicken fished out of the curry and rinsed off so there isn’t much sauce left. We’ve always gone by the philosophy that we won’t do separate meals for the kids and we won’t dumb down our meal plans for the sake of the kids, and luckily that’s working out so far. We also always offer a nutritious high protein bedtime snack (yogurt, cheese etc) so that if they don’t eat much dinner they have a chance for food before going to sleep so they aren’t going hungry. I also always make sure there is at least one thing on the table at each meal that I know the kids like and will eat. I offer everything at appropriately structured mealtimes, and let them make the choice whether to eat or not (again, knowing I’ve offered at least one thing that they will definitely eat). I really, really liked the book “Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense” by Ellyn Satter for this approach – might be a little young for your kids but I thought I’d mention it for anyone with littler ones they are struggling with at meal times.

        I realize some kids are picky to the extreme which makes things difficult, but you might be surprised if you start to challenge their palates a bit? At their age I think it’s entirely appropriate to require that they start to bend to your tastes and not vice versa. And it will serve them well in the long run, in terms of setting up good eating habits for life.

    • Magdeline :

      I really like Also, to echo other comments, portion control is key. Small, high calorie portions can look measly and are easier to overeat that large portions of vegetables are. You might consider calculating the calories in dishes that you make for your children, and eating a portion in accordance with that.

    • I don’t have kids (and this is not exactly to your point), but thinking back to my childhood we must have had a stricter house than everyone else. The grown ups made what they wanted for dinner and the kids ate it. There was no alternative meal and kids really don’t starve themselves – if what you (the grown ups) want to eat is the only option, the kids will eat it. We also had a “no thank you helping”, which was the small helping of something you were given when you said “no thank you” to an item. Having none of something was not allowed.

      It’s also really important to present whatever you’re eating as tasty and exciting. If you lead with “I’m not sure you’ll like this but you should try it”, in my experience, the kid dislikes it every time.

      There was also an article about having the kids cook dinner in today’s NY Times – not totally on topic, but cute. I had parents who worked late and my siblings and I made dinner for everyone almost every night. Kids are more likely to eat food they’re proud to have made. Maybe let them help in the kitchen?

      • I came from a house like that too, eat what was there, make a peanut butter sandwich or go to bed hungry. Accordingly, I’m a pretty adventurous eating, and I don’t think highly of adults who have incredibly simple taste palettes and refuse to try anything. People actually tell me I’m a picky eater, but I’m picky because I don’t eat american cheese, white bread and gross stuff like that.

      • It was like this for me as well. There was no option to refuse what was given.

      • I agree with you to a point, but it really does depend on the kid. I was always a ‘my kids will try something of everything and not ever be picky at all’ person before I had kids. It worked with ds#1, but when ds#2 came along all bets were off. We’ve worked with him over the years, and he’s not as picky as he used to be, but he is on meds that depress his appetite, and even before meds, he is one that he really would starve himself rather than eat something he believes he won’t like. It wouldn’t matter how we presented the food, if he didn’t want to eat it, he wouldn’t. He’d help me make the whole meal, but when it came time for dinner, he’d refuse to eat it. Trust me, I did tons of research on feeding a picky eater, and we tried everything.

        We decided that food battles were not something that we were willing to fight on a nightly basis, so we made small adjustments to our cooking & mealtime rules to make sure that he ate, and that food did not become a major issue. We always had at least one thing for dinner we knew he would eat. He hated sauces, so we’d cook his portion without a sauce. If we knew there would be something special for dessert (dessert is a special treat and you don’t get dessert if you don’t eat your dinner) we’d make sure we had something for dinner that he would eat so he wouldn’t miss out. We also made sure that breakfast & lunch, which he had more control over what he ate – ie, he could choose the cereal and he loves peanut butter, were as healthy as possible. I have fairly strict rules about cereal for our family.

        So, yeah, sometimes the things you listed work, but not always.

        • PT Lawyer :

          Thank you for posting this. I have the opposite — kid #1 is extremely picky, kid #2 will eat anything. I do many the same things as you do — try to have at least one thing that kid #1 will eat at every meal.

          There are some weeks that I alternate, though — one night chicken nuggets, the next night an “adult” meal that the entire family will enjoy (except kid #1, probably), then back to kid food the next night. It works for us and keeps everyone happy — no use in having dinner be the daily fight. (Yeah, kid #1 is that extreme. He’s stubborn.)

          Our other rule is “if its on the table, you can eat it” so we always have a fruit basket and sometimes bread on the kitchen table at dinner. No making a separate meal for anyone. If you don’t like dinner, eat a banana. Or three.

      • This, + 3 million and a half.

      • yep, I don’t think it every occurred to my parents to cook something else for us. We ate what was served or nothing at all. We didn’t have to clear our plates, just take a bite. I went to bed hungry a couple times as a stubborn 4-5-6 year old and then decided it was just easier to eat what I was served.

        My parents ate lots of veggies, interesting proteins, and whole grains themselves so I don’t think I had a chicken nugget until middle school, and by that time I thought they were flavorless and weird.

      • I also either read an article or heard an interview about this last summer, and the child development experts said the same thing (that my parents knew a long time ago, apparently). You should just put food in front of kids and not force them to eat it, but not give them the option to *not* have it in front of them. They said that kids will not starve, they will eat when they are hungry, and that often they are wary of new things, but that they showed in studies that kids have to be exposed to a new food so many times before they will try it. I don’t remember how many times, but the idea makes sense to me. They said if you put food in front of a kid without comment, that eventually they will just try it, and often they will just start eating it from then on. But it’s easier if you don’t call attention to it or comment on it. It was a great story/interview, wish I could remember where it was.

        • Seattleite :

          It’s roughly 40 times, which is a horrifyingly large number. Twice a month for two years *per food* – that can seem like an exercise in futility.

          Don’t lose hope, don’t think of any dislikes as child’s Final Position, and don’t let it turn into a control issue.

          Also be aware that food ‘dislikes’ can be one of the early ways that sensory integration issues present…and SI kids really can’t help it.

      • I think this only works if your parents actually put *good* food in front of you. I was a picky eater as a child, particularly with vegetables, and the entire 18 years in my house it was always a battle to get me to eat them. Once I was out on my own though, I started to experiment with cooking my own stuff, and you know what? Once I learned how to make vegetables (and other healthy things that I never ate!) in a way that appealed to me – and I guarantee you, this does not mean covering them in unhealthy crap, but little things like sauteeing vs. steaming – I LOVED them!

        I guess my point is, don’t just keep making the same things over and over if your child tries something and says she doesn’t like it. Try again, but try doing something different with the same food. It might work and expand their palates!

        • If it makes you feel any better, my parents were at their wits end with me when I was a child because I refused to eat 3/4 of the food they made. While I was not sophisticated enough to articulate it until much later in life, it was all based on a texture issue (repulsed by any food with a squishy/ slimy/ almost but not quite liquid texture). Which knocks out most kid-friendly foods… I nearly starved until my grandma remembered that her older sister (long since passed away) had been super-sensitive to food texture for her entire life. And mom just started giving me raw or only blanched vegetables, staying away from creamy soups, and cut down on the sauces, which fixed the problem completely.

          Apparently, texture issues are within the range of normal variants of food preference… but they really can be a big deal to kids. The point of this post: try giving your kids raw veggies or unsauced components of your own meal before resigning yourself to a life of chicken nuggets and pasta.

    • An editor at Serious Eats is doing a vegan experiment and has some pretty good recipes/suggestions. I use 101cookbooks and Smitten Kitchen the most–and Smitten Kitchen’s black bean pumpkin soup went over very well with my 6yo nephew recently.

      Also, I’ve found my weight would start creeping up if I ate rice, pasta, or oatmeal, so I’ve switched to quinoa (boil for 10 min, then steam for 10 min is my favorite way to cook it) when I want a filler. I make a lot of pesto (parsley with pumpkin seeds is my current favorite) and mix it with steamed vegetables for a quick dinner–and will add some quinoa or tofu if I’m really hungry.

    • I definitely can relate, although for me it’s not kids but an SO who has the food preferences of a 5 year old :) I’m a vegetarian and he’s very much a carnivore, and I prefer much healthier foods than he does. So here are some strategies I use:

      – Have a repertoire of 5 or so standard vegetarian meals that we will both eat. These tend to be more carb-heavy, so I try to have a lighter lunch if we’re making these. For you and your family, I would suggest lighter versions of pastas (and if you’re worried about portion control, these are a favorite of mine:, homemade pizzas (tip: use a cheese grater to make tofu into fine shreds and mix it in with the cheese. no one will ever know!), enchilada bakes, polenta (see here:, and baked potatoes.

      – To up veggie intake, make “veggie fries”: just cut zucchini, butternut squash, or carrots into fry-size strips, dip them in egg, bread them, and cook at 425 till brown. Dip in sauce of your choice.

      – Similar to what others have suggested, have some dishes that the kids can eat with meat and you can eat without, or with tofu/other non-meat products. Tacos (with morningstar’s fake ground beef for you), wraps, stir-fry, omelets, paninis, etc. are all great options.

      – Sometimes it’s easier to just have a lot of easy things available that don’t require recipes, and you just let everyone pick what they want. You can have the chicken nuggets out for your kids, but make sure you have something you can just grab and heat up too. Trader joe’s makes a ton of easy and relatively healthy microwave or stovetop dishes. Or cook a big pot of quinoa and roast a big batch of veggies at the beginning of the week (most roasted veggies will indeed last a whole week), and combine and eat at your leisure.

      This last thing leads into another point…it’s not as essential as a lot of people think that everyone is eating the same food. In fact, your kids might be more inclined to try healthier things if they see you enjoying them first!

      Good luck!

    • We have one child. I’m vegetarian, and do the majority of the cooking (which is ethnic food 90% of the time), my DH will eat some poultry and so does our DS. DS has the option of eating whatever we prepare, period. So, really, he has the option of eating or being hungry. Occasionally, he will be offered chicken nuggets after he has tried 3 bites of whatever was prepared for the family. Our rule is, “We don’t always get to eat our favorite things. And, you don’t get to disrespect the cook by not eating what’s been prepared merely because it is not your favorite.” I should say that the ethnic food we eat (Indian) is usually served with rice and yoghurt. DS can fill up on that, but he must have at least 3 (preferably 5-10) bites of whatever vegetable is made. If you weren’t raised eating ethnic food, you might try serving the veggies with plain yoghurt, which not only cuts down on the heat, but also masks some of the flavor. But, really, my advice is to adjust the rules re: meals in your family.

    • We used to do many “mono meals” before children (BC), where the protein, grain and veggies were all co-mingled, like a stirfry etc. Now, AC, we make a protein, veggie and grain separate from one another, and husband and I eat the veggies/salad and the protein but not the grain/pasta/carb part. This way we can add our own spices/level of spiciness that the kids won’t eat and also avoid the carbs. The food is not as fun to cook, but it keeps us healthy and mostly happy. :-)

      For specifics, try meat sauce and spaghetti for the kids with a salad, and you just don’t eat the spaghetti part but a double helping of meat sauce! Or tacos and you just don’t eat the shell! Things like that…

      • Whoops–missed the vegetarian part of your post! Sorry–I was skimming and moving apparently way too quickly!

    • No kids, but I read this blog often and enjoy many of the recipes she posts (the author has three kids under five and sometimes comments on modifications she makes for her kids). She has a Grocery Bag almost every week with her meal plan. Her family isn’t vegetarian but they do eat a fair number of vegetarian meals, and she has some good ethnic and slow-cooker recipes.

      Here’s the link to the Grocery Bag posts:

    • It hasn’t been updated in a while but has a number of tasty recipes. The author has two kids. Some of the meals are more complex than others, but they make for good weekend options. And some can be frozen, like the lentil soup (which rocks).

    • Check out the juggle blog on the wsj, they often have topics like this.
      I make a dinner and try to make it kid friendly but if they don’t like it they dont have to eat it, they can have toast or cereal. One kid ate toast with peanut butter for about a year and a half. Now I have added cup o noodles to the options if they dont like dinner. They usually will eat fruit and eat the same as us about half the time. I try to make something good I like (salmon, chicken, main dish, etc) and somethign I know they will like (noodles, rice, pasta, even mac and cheese) and then have veggies and fruit as a side. I save the frozen bad for you chix nuggests or other stuff for when Im not eating too.

  15. sorry to be such a downer – one of my two cats suddenly died yesterday. she was only 3 years old. and i simply cannot get over it. she was the sweetest thing ever.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Oh I am so sorry! I wish I could say something that would make you feel better. I’m sure your cat was lucky to have you in their life, even for such a short time.

    • Left coaster :

      I am so sorry! I lost my sweet boy kitty last summer, also pretty suddenly, and was devastated.

      Here’s the thing: You should not be over it. Your cat just died yesterday, and you have the right to mourn her, just like you would the loss of any other companion. So don’t be angry at yourself for grieving — you’re entitled to it. So for now, feel sad about the loss of your cat. But know that it does get better eventually, and maybe someday you will open your home to another little friend. I waited about six months and adopted a new cat over the holidays, and he is a great new addition to our home.

    • Tired Squared :

      Give yourself time–it’s always hard to get over the loss of a pet. Try to remember that she was very lucky to have your in her life, and was happy, and now is happily playing up with other cats (or being a loner, whichever she preferred) up in the Kitty Afterlife.

      When I lost a pet, I found it was helpful to put together a memory box of sorts. I put a couple of her favorite toys in, as well as a few good pictures I had taken, and her collar and nametag. For the first few weeks it was helpful because I could take out the box to remember her, but I didn’t see the toys/pictures all the time so I wasn’t constantly crying. Now, I take it out and smile about our memories together (and I imagine her attacking other cats’ tails and hoarding other cats’ toys in the aforementioned Kitty Afterlife).


      • Oh, I’m so sorry — that must be a shock. You grieve as much as you want. Pets are family.

    • thanks, i’m just grateful that at least i have her brother to continue to keep us company :) but this being such a rough work week is not helping things.

    • I’m so sorry. Losing a companion is always really, really hard.

    • So sorry, anon! Something similar happened to me a couple of years ago, and it sucks. And it takes some time to grieve.

    • First, I want to say how sorry I am for your loss. This same thing happened to me this summer with my 5 year old cat. He became noticeably sick on a Wednesday and was dead by the following Monday. The vets had no idea what was wrong with him and he hadn’t had any prior problems. I don’t know if you feel guilty or anything like that, but you shouldn’t. Cats hide their illnesses, and because your cat died so suddenly and so young, it was probably an innate problem that just to a breaking point.

      Needless to say, my loss was shocking and devastating, and I’m sure yours is too. It took awhile to heal, but when I think of him, instead of thinking of the horrible last week with him, I think of all the happy years we had together and all of the fun memories and instead of making me sad, it makes me smile.

      I only waited about a month to get a new kitten; I wanted to wait longer, but my other kitty was depressed and started emotionally abusing me. But take all the time you need, and I definitely recommend opening up your home to another pet sometime in the future.

    • So sorry for your loss. :( Don’t feel like you need to get over it, though … it’s legitimately heartbreaking to lose a pet, especially a young one, and you are entitled to several good cries. (as I sit here crying at the thought that my cats are going to die someday.)

    • So sorry!

  16. momentsofabsurdity :

    Any advice from the hivemind to pump me up for my upcoming negotiation?

    I am negotiating increases in salary and equity position to stay at my startup for another year, rather than going to a prestigious graduate program (or rather, describing what I’ll need to convince me to defer, to my boss, who has asked me to stay). We are just beginning our external financing round so I would be taking a bit of a leap of faith that we’d be funded. I am lucky that because the startup is spinning out of an existing entity, regardless of the funding situation, I will have *a* job. I’m going to ask for some BIG things next week and am starting to get nervous – I KNOW my boss wants me to stay and will do what he can to keep me here, but once I wrote it all out, it seems like such a huge list!

    1) 30% salary increase starting the day I defer (pre-external funding). This will come out of the larger parent company and is not so big as it appears – I am being paid below market rate, have gotten a couple of promotions “in title only” and unilaterally positive feedback on my work – but not a single raise or bonus (incl. for cost of living or inflation) since I started 2 years ago.

    Once we do get financing, I’m going to ask for:
    2) 80% salary increase (from current salary) starting with external financing. This would start when I transition into the NewCo and is already budgeted in the projections for higher than I’m asking – though my boss doesn’t know that this is the position that I’m going for.
    3) Higher title, and reporting directly to the CEO (my current boss)
    4) Public listing as a founder (I’ve been with this from the beginning but am being paid so low that I could not afford take any founder’s equity as I couldn’t contribute to cash calls to finance pre-external funding – however, some MAJOR sweat equity on my end has gone into this. I am the only person doing this startup full time ATM)
    5) A small but substantive equity position with accelerated vesting

    It’s just such a terrifying list and I am getting so many conflicting messages from all sides – some people saying I am not asking for enough, and other people saying that this is fair. I know my boss wants to keep me – and that it would hurt the business if I left. I’m going to ask to speak with my boss next Monday on this as I really need to decide and inform the grad school by the end of the month. And if he does say no, it’s not like I am in a terrible position – I have acceptance to Prestigious Grad U in my back pocket. But it’s still really scary! Any words of advice?

  17. I just interviewed a young woman for an Associate position who was quite impressive, but for the fact that she had one blue thumbnail (other nails unpolished), and a hair elastic around her wrist. This did not make a good impression. It may seem like that type of little things won’t be noticed or won’t matter, but they are and they do. Remember that your interviewer doesn’t know you at all and has very little information to go on, so you really want all of it to convey competence and “togetherness.”

    • I think the “hair elastic” complaint is a bit over the top. But then, I am the kind of person who wears one on her wrist (or a barrette on a belt loop) until it is time to put my hair up.

      Were I resentful, I might point out your unnecessary capitalization of “associate” and your poor wording regarding “that type of little things.”

      • I hope anon is trolling.

        • Are we really calling someone a troll for capitalizing Associate and a typo?

          • I don’t think she’s a troll, but perhaps An believes she might be because of her over-the-top expectations as to elastics and the generally dislikable tone of her post. When people say things like this, they could be unwitting extremists or they could be trolls trying to get a rise out of “genuine” readers.

          • I think we’re throwing around the t-word because it was such a ridiculous post. I mean, OMG she had a hairband around her wrist! Clearly she will be a failure as a lawyer! And if the OP is going to call someone out for such incredibly minor things, it behooves her to get her own minor details right.

    • the blue thumbnail, that would have seemed odd to me too.

      but the hair elastic around her wrist? was that really so bad?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I’m sorry, I think the hair elastic thing is uptight. One blue thumbnail is kind of weird. I don’t even feel/notice my hair elastic 90% of the time because it is basically always there.

    • Left coaster :

      Really? A hair elastic around your wrist makes one incompetent and not together?

      • Totes McGotes :

        To me it’s indicative of being *more* prepared – ready for anything.

    • Tired Squared :

      The thumbnail part is confusing to me, and I can see where that would leave a strange impression.

      However, I’ll admit to having a hairband around my wrist 100% of the time, and I’ve seen a large number of my co-workers do it too. Until I read your post, I didn’t even remember that I had one on now–so I know I have left them on for interviews too. So I agree that we do need to be as professional and polished as possible, but I would probably overlook the hairband thing–especially because some of us would have just as noticeable tan lines/indents in our wrists if we removed them! :)

    • Fair or not, I think everyone is judging entry-level professional candidates more harshly since the economic downturn. When you have tons of qualified, eager people for each opening, sometimes something like a random blue fingernail or failing to wear socks (guy) or hosiery (woman) can be the death knell. Again, not saying it’s fair, but the candidates do need to step it up these days…

      • Seriously, you wouldn’t hire someone over those things if they were otherwise the most qualified candidate? Now I’m having a panic attack…so great.

        • If the person were otherwise the most qualified candidate, I would certainly hire her. But, I admit that I would have noted the rubberband around the wrist, and it wouldn’t have been a positive thing. Certainly not a deal breaker, but noteworthy.

        • I wouldn’t ding an otherwise qualified candidate for the hairband on the wrist, and I’m pretty flexible regarding interview wear (interviewed someone today who was wearing a nonsuit skirt and jacket with tights and rather casual shoes and I thought she looked completely appropriate) but for some reason the hairband does bother me. I guess it reminds me too much of the times I’ve seen girls/women in lectures constantly taking down and putting up their hair. I find it very irritating when women constantly play with their hair – not in the privacy of their own office, but when other people are around.

          • Agreed.

            Though I would ask for clarification on the one blue thumbnail. I slammed a finger in a car door a couple months ago, it turned a quite interesting purple and still looks funky. :-P

      • a passion for fashion :

        this. and for those of you who have hair elastics around your wrist all the time — really would you have one there during an interview?

        • I’d TRY to remember to take it off. But getting ready for a job interview can be a stressful thing. Sometimes things fall through the cracks, is all I’m saying.

          • I agree, but if the candidate couldn’t get her sh*t together for a short interview, that candidate can let stuff fall through the cracks at some other firm.

            Interviews (especially in this economy) are cut-throat. I have no idea if a hair elastic on the wrist would be a dealbreaker for me. If I needed to eliminate one of two equally qualified candidates, it might just be.

        • Tired Squared :

          I’ve definitely interviewed with them on. It wasn’t on purpose–“Oh, the interviewer really wants to see my hair band”–but because it’s on ALL the time, and I never even notice.

    • nothing to add except that the interviewee sounds like me on a typical day: ran out of polish remover, tried out a new nail color at sephora over the weekend, got nervous and picked at my polish, got distracted and only remembered to paint one nail/part of one hand. and let’s not even get into the hair elastic. all that said, i would do my best to not show up to an interview in my natural state!

      • I am the original anon. All I can say is that all four people conducting this interview (me and three others) noticed both the blue nail and the hair elastic. I didn’t say this person is out of contention because of these things, but they did make her seem a bit immature and sloppy, and we are considering a number of equally well-qualified people for the position. I would have liked to give this feedback directly to the candidate so that she will make more of an effort to look polished in other interviews, because it does matter. But I can’t do that, so I’m sharing my impressions for the benefit of job seekers here. Certainly no offense intended.

        • I think this is reasonable.

          IF anyone is interested in a hair elastic that looks more intentional when worn on your wrist, Google “Bloom Black Ties.” They were designed specifically with this in mind. They’re expensive, but I have the chain ones in gold and silver, and they hold their elasticity perfectly, never fray, and look OK with anything. I now only use regular elastics for exercise.

          • these are awesome. thanks

          • I love those — I just wonder how they’d do in my thick, curly, long hair.

          • WANT!

          • They are pretty, but – your hair doesn’t get caught in the links? That would be my concern.

          • Responding to the concerns: my hair is medium-volume, long, and curly. I do fine with the regular width ones, but some come in thick band as well. If your hair is extra thick, might want to try those ones.

            My hair does not get caught in the links. I was wondering about that too. I have the single-link chain ones for this reason; was worried that the double-link ones might snag.

        • i think this was very helpful to know. thank you.

        • Was everyone a woman or did men notice too? I’ll pretty type A and have always worn and nudish polish to an interview, and probably never had a hair elastic on my wrist. however, I have a coworker who is more organized and pays more attention to detail than I do, but constantly has gross picked off nail polish, hair elastics on her wrist, doesn’t pluck her eyebrows, has wrinkles shirts, socks that don’t match her outfit etc. This is in an engineering job though so appearance doesn’t matter as much for lawyers.

        • moonstone :

          All I can think is that everyone who thinks it’s perfectly normal to have a hair elastic on her wrist must have long hair. For those of us who don’t — which is lots of women and nearly all men — it’s an odd thing to have on at a job interview. It does not look as polished as you want to look in very formal circumstances.

          • AnonInfinity :

            I agree. I totally get where the OP is coming from, because I don’t think I’ve ever had an elastic around my wrist and I haven’t noticed a whole lot of professional women wearing them. It would have stuck out to me as something less-than-polished, too.

        • This reminded me of a law student I interviewed earlier this week too. She carried a canvas tote bag and wore some four-inch thick wood bead necklace of some sort, but what really bothered me were the bangs which hung right down the middle of her face, completely obscuring one eye. She made no attempt to move it out of her face during the whole interview, so it wasn’t like it just fell in front of her face by accident. I just kept wondering if she had a pirate eye-patch on under all that hair (and thinking that would be kind of cool)

          • …Is a canvas totebag bad? I mean, I haven’t brought mine to interviews (I don’t think!), but it’s good to know that interviewers are criticizing what kind of bag I carry.

    • I have never thought twice about the hair elastics that live on my wrist, and in my car, and on my desk, and in my purse. I will certainly be more cognizant now of wearing them to future interviews. Generally, if my hair is down, there is an elastic on my wrist.

    • Like others, I can understand the nail polish thing. I actually have a specific nail polish that I wear for interviews or I will not wear any at all. The hair elastic thing freaked me out because I have one on me almost at all times, even right now. Thank goodness other posters think this is harsh. I will make a mental note to make sure I do not have one on during interviews just in case the interviewer is like the OP. The blue nail polish thing is just weird though! If you have time to go to Sephora to try out colors then you have time to buy nail polish remover.

      • Suited Up :

        I was thinking that maybe she rushed to take off her blue polish and didn’t realize that she forgot a nail until too late! Unfair as it seems, I agree that the little things add up in an interview- particularly in this economy where there are several well-qualified candidates as the OP mentioned.

        • For what it’s worth, if an interviewer dinged me for something like an elastic around the wrist, I hands down would not want to work for him or her. The breadth of qualities you’re ascribing to this interviewee, OP, based on an elastic is frankly ludicrous. It just does not reflect as much you think it does, in my opinion. I would hope that most people would base their judgments on a much fuller set of qualities that develop over time – like, oh, grades, or length of time at previous jobs, or the personality they are exhibiting during the whole course of interview. Not something as flimsy as an elastic – which might not be an oversight, btw, but something she keeps on her hand by design. So thanks for the tip – I do believe you were well-intentioned, but at the same time, I’d never want to work for you.

  18. Do we think this model gets most of her work when the catalog company calls the agency and asks for a “Katie Holmes type”?

    • Always a NYer :

      Do you mean stoned out of her mind and confused as to what planet she’s on when you say “Katie Holmes type”?

      (and extra points if you understand the pun, LOL)

  19. no call, no show :

    This is an update on a post I made last week about a coworker who has been having regular absences for about 2+ months now. I’m still unsure what the problem is, but we’ve been given the impression it may be related to mental health. I want to be understanding that she’s going through a hard time, but she’s still texting people saying that she may be in later in the day or possibly tomorrow when that’s clearly not her intent. I think that technically this person is now supposed to be heading up my unit, but no one else in the unit has any trust in her ability to lead at this point. Any suggestions? I am not sure this person is officially unit head yet.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Does her supervisor have any idea that this is happening/have they given you any concept of what you should do?

      I think the advice is still the same – appoint an “unofficial” leader and don’t expect anything of her. Literally expect her to do zero work so that if she does come in, it’s a bonus. Let her supervisor handle the absences, presuming he’s aware of them.

    • no call, no show, this sadly sounds like a mental health problem and I hope your coworker can get help. Best case scenario is someone close to this person intervenes and lets her know that this is not professional, that FMLA will only get her so far, and that she is on the verge of burning her entire career to the ground if she doesn’t get help for whatever the problem is. It doesn’t sound like you are close to her, but do you know someone who can be prompted to give coworker a reality check? Or know someone who knows someone who can level with the coworker? Something similar happened to someone I was close too (she fell into a deep depression, stopped showing to work, let major projects drop, and pretty much made herself unemployable despite tremendous early successes in her career). She was living in a new city, and by the time her family and friends figured out what was going on it was too late to help her salvage her reputation. We wish someone had reached out to a friend or family member earlier. She is getting help now, but it will be a long way back because she had such a high-profile position when she melted down.

      I guess I am advocating that you should do what you can to make sure that someone who could help this woman is informed about what is going on, but I understand you also have to look out for yourself and stay within the boundaries of what you are comfortable with.

    • If she is a lawyer, in most states you can anonymously report a lawyer to the state’s lawyer assistance program (different from the ethics board) which will reach out to the lawyer and try to provide them help.

  20. Sigh. Here goes. I have ADHD in a bad way. Diagnosed but no treatment plan because I haven’t found a good provider. Any recommendations for Seattle? Thank you.

    • Seattleite :

      Yes!!!! Lucky you. Amen Institute. Dr. Amen is nationally known and has done groundbreaking research. Is big into nutrition and supplements, not just meds.

      My former husband (of 23 years) and both kids have ADD/ADHD. We all also saw a FABULOUS psychologist who specializes in ADD issues, and helped me/us structure our lives in a more ADD-friendly way. Google “Roger Clement Mill Creek.” If that feels too far away for you, please reconsider. He’s the third or fourth psych we saw for help, the others were useless. (At last count, all 9 families I referred to him were happy.) In fact, he was so good (and consults with our family doc) that we didn’t go the Amen Institute route. However, I have two or three friends being treated at Amen and they are having very good results.

      Please do not lose hope. You have a label (ugh) that helps you identify what is going on and provides a shorthand to help you seek solutions for your life. It is not a death sentence; it’s an explanation. That’s all.

  21. Theory creates the most expensive suits with the lowest standards of quality that I have come across—in 2 years I went through 2 different “Gilda” skirts by Theory made with their “Tailor” fabric and the fabric in one case ripped and the other case wore out. Keep in mind, I wore each of these skirts no more than 4-5 times.

    For $260+ for a skirt, I advise having your suit made by a traveling tailor (we have a lot of these in DC) or opting for a J.Crew suit. Theory is terrible

  22. Just wanted to say thanks to everyon who
    Commented on my question about not wanting a wedding. The fiancé and I are at similar points in our careers but everyone expects me to plan the entire wedding and to plan it to make other people happy. I could use a long vacation a lot more than a big party I have to plan with 200 not so close friends and family so thanks guys for making me feel less guilty.

  23. Thanks to everyone who replied to my wedding question. Sometimes I wish people could understand that some women don’t have white fluffy dress dreams.

  24. MaggieLizer :

    Update on my horrible mortgage broker:

    I’m so, so glad I ditched that guy. I have a new mortgage advisor now, and he pointed out that just about everything the old guy said was absolutely wrong – including the price range of homes I can afford. The monthly mortgage estimate was so far off that the lowest priced home my former broker told me I could afford is actually the very highest I can afford. I’m so glad I found someone else before I got in WAY over my head on a mortgage, but I’m also angry and frustrated that the houses I was falling in love with are out of my price range.

    Thanks for everyone who commented when I posted about him before. Lesson learned: trust your gut and don’t feel guilty about ditching poor performers, especially when your future financial security is at stake!

  25. Question – related to suits.. .does anyone have a suggestion for good t-shirt type shirts to wear under a suit. I need something with sleeves – unfortunately… I am a sweat-er and sleeves just work better under a suit. I found some cute shirts at Ann Taylor Loft outlet.. they had a fancy front .. ruffles, etc.. then a t-shirt type sleeves/back. But they have nothing in stock right now. Looking for some spring colors. Please don’t suggest Target.. haven’t been happy with what I buy there since they fad after washing. THANKS in advance.

    • I saw a couple at the limited with t shirt type material in the back.

    • Lands End – they’ve got a line of knit shirts with varying necklines in a range of colors. They size a bit generous, but have been working on getting more fitted cuts.

    • old navy might work or some basic hanes colored tshirts

    • Are you washing on hot water? For my knits/t-shirt type tops, I wash with cold water and liquid detergent and then I toss them in a dryer. The colors last much longer when you wash with cold water.

    • SoCal Gator :

      I agree with the Lands End suggestion. They have some modal tees with a nice neck that would work. Also I like the microfiber tops from White House Black market. And I have been looking online at some Banana Republic tees that look nice. Has anyone bought the Luxe Touch tee? Nice enough for under suits?

      Here is the link:

      • I bought 2 Luxe Touch tees at the BR outlet — one in red, one in green. They are GREAT under suits!

    • Theory actually makes good tees, though I won’t pay full price ($75) for them. I also love my uniqlo tees. Lastly, Tahari silk tees — I have a couple rich, jewel tone ones that I love.

    • Lafayette 148. Expensive but so worth it.

      • Thanks everyone – I do wash in cold water… but thanks for the tip. I love the BR recommendation.. the Luxe-touch tee are great! I will buy a few.

  26. Anyone with experience on bone marrow donation (either by vein or by hip bone)?

    • Equity's Darling :

      Nope, but I’m on the donor list.

      So…you know, should I come up a match, I guess someone will find me? I haven’t really thought too much more about it since I did the swab kit and mailed it back in.

      • I did that in 2008 but have matched so I think it’s going to be happening… because it’s so busy in NYC, they’re transporting me to DC for the testing and then again for the donation, assuming the testing goes well. Fingers crossed I get to be so lucky as to give!

    • Please report back with your experiences! It’s something I’ve gone back and forth on. I’m biracial and one of those races is really under represented, but I’m also a bit granola/hippy-dippy and the idea of taking medication that makes my bone marrow migrate into my blood stream terrifies me.

      • Equity's Darling :

        Also biracial here, which is one of the reasons I registered- in Canada we have problems with a lack of minorities registering for OneMatch (something like 90% of registrants are caucasian), and I imagine it is likely a problem in the US also.

        • Yeah, I’m also in Canada, and 1/4 native, so I suspect that are few donors with my background.

    • I have no personal experience, but have heard that it is quite painful through the hip bone. Not to discourage you from donating, because that is seriously awesome, just to make sure you are prepared and ask for the pain relief you may need.

      • This. I heard it is extremely painful. Otherwise, I’m sure many more people would be on the donor list.

    • My mother donated her bone marrow to her sister by hip bone. She said it was very painful, but worth it. When my aunt was diagnosed, she was told that she had only a slim chance of survival, but my mother’s bone marrow donation saved her life. She has been cancer-free for 20 years.

    • In-House Europe :

      I signed up and was actually on a short list to donate – these days they can do it via the bloodstream which is much less painful. Not every day we get a chance to save someone’s life!!

  27. Suit Dilemma :

    Hopefully some of you are still reading and can give me your opinions! So, I just did something that I never do. I stopped by J.Crew on my lunch hour and kind of out of desperation, bought a full price suit on a whim. I have gained 15 lbs over the past 8 months due to a leg injury. As a result, though I hate to admit it, I am apparently now two sizes too big for all the suits in my closet. I am a litigator, but luckily I haven’t had to do many court appearances in those months. When I did have to go to court, I SQUISHED myself into my suits using a torturous combination of spanx and control top pantyhose. Needless to say, I have not been feeling good at ALL about how I look in my suits, but I just kept telling myself that I would not buy a bigger size because I kept expecting my leg to heal so that I could start exercising again and lose the weight…

    Well, my boss told me yesterday that we are going to have a meeting with a group of very important/high net worth potential clients at the end of this week. I want to feel confident, so that led to the purchase. Specifically, I bought the Super 120s in navy pinstripe. I got the blazer, pants and skirt. I feel guilty because J.Crew seems to have sales all.the.time. So, Corporettes, is this crazy? What would you do? (And thanks for reading this long ramble!!)

    • If you didn’t have time to wait until you found a suit on sale I think it is more important that you feel your most confident for the meeting with the potential clients.

    • I think that given the circumstances, if you can afford what you bought, then you are totally justified. In my experience, J.Crew’s nicer/more formal stuff doesn’t go on sale that often, and it sounds like you need this now, not at the end of a season.

      Also, I will say that I have a friend who has probably gained 30 pounds in the past year or so, and her suits obviously, clearly do not fit her and look terrible. She wears the skirts so high up that both the hem and the slit/s in the back are inappropriately high. She looks like she is popping out of the top. I feel bad for her when I see her in suits, but I can’t bring myself to say anything.

      If you are in a comparable situation, where your suits are either amazingly uncomfortable to wear or are unflattering or inappropriate for work because they are too small, then you absolutely should, if you can afford to, buy new clothes in the size you need. It sounds like you needed this suit ASAP for practical, psychological, and professional reasons, and I don’t think you should feel bad at all.

      Plus, now that you have one (and a half) suit(s) that fit(s) you well, you can start looking for additional suits that are on sale or are otherwise cheaper. The “emergency” has been resolved, and now you can do more investigating before you stock up.

    • No, it is not crazy, do not feel guilty!!! You are doing what you need to do to feel good enough to focus on what is important: doing your job well. You’re not buying fullprice suits every day, it’s just once. Shrug. be proud/happy you’re taking care of yourSELF, and not worrying about what you *should* do.

    • You have to feel good about what you’re wearing at work. And if you’re thinking about your spanx, control top pantyhose and how you feel like a stuffed sausage, you’re not going to be able to focus on the actual meeting. I think buying one versatile suit (even at full price) that you can wear whenever you need to until you can start exercising against is completely reasonable.

      I actually should probably take your/my own advice and do the same but I’m refusing because my workplace is pretty casual and I WILL. LOSE. THE. DAMN. WEIGHT!!!

    • Goodness! I gained a ton of weight while my daughter was undergoing chemotherapy (for 2.5 years!). I just couldn’t cope with one more thing and self-soothed by putting anything in my pie-hole that I wanted. At any rate the point of this post was that, like they say in What Not To Wear, you have to dress the size you are, not the size you want to be! So I just kept buying clothes in larger and larger sizes, and now have a wardrobe from size 6 to 12! I didn’t get rid of any of my old stuff either. I always looked put together and liked the clothing I was wearing, even if I couldn’t quite believe that the caboose that was following me was actually mine!! LOL

      Anyway, since my daughter finished her treatment, I’ve been on a major weight loss kick. 32 lbs since Nov 1!! Woohoo! And I’m dropping sizes, and shopping my closet, which is great fun.

      But really, you are dealing with an injury. Don’t beat yourself up over some weight gain–we can be so tough on ourselves! Instead, buy the clothing, and feel the best you can about yourself because that confidence will help you do your best at your workplace. We can’t always keep everything together–give yourself permission to be human! :-)

      • Different Anon :

        Spacegeek! So glad to hear your daughter has recovered and that you’ve made major progress on the weight loss.

    • Enjoy your suit! It sounds like it is worth it and you certainly have the circumstances to justify a quick purchase. Who knows, you may not have been able to get all three pieces even if you had been able to wait for sale (lucky sizes).

      • Suited Up :

        This. The JCrew suits are so popular that when they actually go on sale, its near impossible to buy your size. I think you did good :) – its more important that the suit makes you feel good and that it’s comfortable!

    • phillygirlruns :

      no guilt – sounds like a great reason to buy a nice suit. when i gained weight a couple years back, i spent a lot of time trying to convince myself my old too-small suits would be fine and i’d lose the weight so soon i’d be back in them in no time. eventually i just decided to own it and the sheer novelty of fitting comfortably into my clothing alone made the cost of new work clothes worth it.

    • Suit Dilemma :

      Thanks all! You guys are awesome. I do feel better about this now. =)

  28. Very random question, but have any Firefox users noticed increased instability in the browser recently? I’m running the latest version and have all of the updates, but lately it has been freezing and/or crashing about every other time I’ve opened it. I’m on a Mac, if it makes a difference, and have no trouble running Safari. I very much prefer Firefox’s interface and the availability of add-ons to that of Safari or Chrome, but I’m about ready to ditch it if I can’t find a fix. Any suggestions?

    • I noticed that when I updated firefox the last time… I searched for old downloads + firefox and downloaded a version from 2 versions back. Then I went into the tools + options and stopped it from telling me that firefox needed to be updated. Haven’t had a problem since.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I use it on a Windows machine and haven’t noticed any issues. I think they have a pretty active advice network linked off their homepage, so maybe that would be a good resource to find out if Macs have been experiencing issues?

    • weird. I haven’t been having any problems. I would check with Mozilla tech support.

  29. Love Shoes :

    How important is it to be in good shape (physically) for interviews. I’m big and petrified of showing up this way for interviews. I’m currently working and looking to move and I put on a lot of wt recently. Can anyone please give me some tips? I wear medium sized tops but xl (size 12-14-16) pants. I’m 5’4 so that’s not helpful either. And I am expected to wear business suits for interviews.

    • Love Shoes :

      And I’m 28 yrs old.

    • It’s not “nice” but it’s honest, good looking people get better jobs. With that said, I’m bigger than you (also 5’4) and am currently on my second job 3 years out of law school. I was offered a few jobs I declined. So it’s not a big deal, nobody will comment on it, nobody will look at you funny, nobody will say “jeez, shouldn’t you take up jogging or something??”

      All you can do is whatever you need to do to feel better about yourself, dress nicely, professionally and in a way that flatters your body (still working on that one for myself! Damn 38FFs!)

      I’m not sure what you’re interviewing for, but assuming it’s anything professional, you absolutely need to wear a business suit. I’ve had good luck with a place called Kaspar, but I’ve only seen two locations (and you REALLY have to weed out the 90yo grandma suits) , and I actually like Dress Barn for “larger” separates. It’s much much much harder to find a suit that looks good because just as the original suit was cut for a man’s body, traditional women’s suits are not cut for curves. I find a fairly straight line skirt and generous jacket do well for me, but I almost always have to buy suiting separates because my chest is so much larger than the rest of me. Pants really just don’t look as professional on a me as a larger woman I don’t think.

    • Any job that cares is going to be a terrible place to work. As long as you are dressed appropriately for an interview don’t even think about your size.

    • Dress appropriately and be confident. You will do fine. Try to find some time to work out, though. It will make you feel better emotionally and physically, even if it doesn’t help take the weight off immediately.

    • Make your health and physical appearance a non-issue. Job qualifications aside, if you come across as professional and put-together, that’s all that matters. Find a suit that fits you well and that you are comfortable in. Then sit up straight, smile, and focus on the interview itself.

    • Love Shoes :

      Thank you, all. I really appreciate your replies. I’m already motivated. I’ll concentrate on looking-sharp part.

  30. phillygirlruns :

    fail. i planned to wear a pencil skirt today. i ride a bike to work, which means that when i wear pencil skirts, i wear yoga pants to commute and change into my skirt when i get to the office. i got in today and realized i left the skirt at home…so here i sit in a navy shell & argyle cardigan with black stretchy pants, hoping i don’t need to interact with anyone before j.crew opens at 10.

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