The Hunt: Stylish Cashmere Sweaters for Work

cashmere sweaters for work

2017 Update: Check out our latest discussion of the most affordable cashmere for work!

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Ladies, we haven’t talked about the most stylish cashmere sweaters for work in far too long — and now is a great time to buy because there are so many sales on.  Which brands are you loving this year in terms of style, softness, durability, and more?  (Do check out our guide to cardigans for work, if you haven’t already!) Have you gotten any great deals on any cashmere lately? Which cashmere brand do you like to splurge on? 

If you’re curious, here are links to our prior roundups of the best cashmere sweaters for the office: 2015, 2014, 2012. Before we start, a few special interest categories:

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Five Grammar Rules You Absolutely, Seriously Have to Know

Grammar RulesIf you want to be taken seriously as a professional, good grammar matters! Particularly for lawyers, where you get major points for knowing your Bluebook and local style conventions, there can be some serious grammar nerds around — and they will judge you if you use “none” as a plural or confuse further and farther. Even those of us not working with grammar nerds need to get at least SOME grammar rules straight, though! This is my list of the five grammar rules you must know if you want to be taken seriously:

  1. Your/You’re
  2. They’re/Their/There
  3. Its/It’s — and other general apostrophe problems.
  4. Proper use of commas. This a huge topic, but it’s one worth knowing well because so many things can go wrong with commas. Whether it’s an error like “eats, shoots & leaves” or an error like “I’m coming to eat Grandfather,” they drive me batty. This Grammarly page looks like a good overview.
  5. Word choice — specifically as it applies to your industry. This is a pretty open ended suggestion, but in some ways it matters the most! For example, you wouldn’t want to work with a First Amendment lawyer who used “slander” and “libel” interchangeably… or a wedding planner who misspelled “stationery.” You should be absolutely sure you understand the meaning and proper usage of any words you use often at work, as well as any terms of art.

Ladies, what does your list of “must know” grammar rules include? Which grammar mistakes bug you the most? (Here’s our last discussion on grammar annoyances.)  

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Planning Your Career for Babies

Planning Your Career for Babies2018 Update: We still stand by this discussion on planning your career for babies — but you may also want to check out some of our more recent discussions on family planning and pregnancy, including how to decide if you want kids, and our top tips on preparing for pregnancy (if the answer is yes). Over at our working moms’ blog, you may want to check out advice on work-life balance from working moms to their pre-mom selves.

We’ve talked about how to financially plan for babies recently-ish, but we haven’t discussed other broad aspects of planning for babies since 2010, when I was pregnant with my first but hadn’t yet announced it here. (Ah, although we did have a nice discussion about when to get pregnant, which I’d forgotten about.) So what does planning your career for babies look like? I just got this related question from Reader K:

I am a 33 yo associate attorney at a small firm. I was pregnant with my first and then had a miscarriage in October. It was going to be perfect timing work-wise — due at the end of April. So here I am, possibly ready to try again. I have a big trial in a case that’s solely my case in February 2017. I doubt it will settle. Is it irresponsible of me to just try for a baby again regardless of timing? Work is very important but I also feel timing babies around work may be a fool’s errand.

I’m curious to hear what other readers have to say, but of course I have some thoughts. As a mother of two kids under 5, my advice to those of you trying to plan your career around eventually having a baby: Don’t. Some notes:

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Beauty Wednesday: 5 Multipurpose Makeup Items to Keep at Your Desk

Multipurpose Makeup | Corporette For those necessary makeup fixes and touch-ups at work, you can avoid keeping a whole Sephora store in your desk drawer by having one or two of these multipurpose makeup items on hand. We’ve rounded up five beauty products with two, three, or more uses — do you have any to add to the list?

  1. NARS ‘The Multiple’ Stick: You can use the cream-to-powder Multiple Stick for eyes, cheeks, and lips — for color, contouring, highlights, and more. It’s highly reviewed at Sephora — 4.4 out of 5 stars with more than 2,000 (!) reviews — and customers say it’s easy to apply and looks natural. It’s available in 10-12 shades (which I would list here if they were a bit more self-explanatory — Puerto Vallarta, anyone?) for $39 at Nordstrom and Sephora.
  2. Ilia Multi Stick: This handy makeup stick works well on your lips, cheeks, and eyes — it gives a sheer, natural look, and it’s easy to blend. Ilia Multi Sticks contain 100% natural dye as well as Vitamin E and shea butter. They’re available at Net-a-Porter in four colors for $34 with free 3-day shipping (and directly from Ilia Beauty in six colors; shipping is $5.95).
  3. Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balm: While this fragrance-free product is meant for lips, it’s also a good bet for eyes and cheeks — and it never needs sharpening. (Here’s a how-to video if you’re looking for tips.) The Chubby Stick rates a 4.4 out of 5 from 2,000+ (!) reviews and was recently named to Allure’s “Best of Beauty” list. It’s available at Sephora in 16 sheer shades, from warm beige to berry pink to plum brown, for $17.
  4. Stila Convertible Color: Use this versatile product for sheer color on both lips and cheeks — it’s garnered a 4.4 out of 5 at Sephora from about 1,000 reviews, and reviewers say the product has a creamy texture that lends a natural look. It’s available at Sephora (six shades) and Nordstrom (nine shades) for $25.
  5. Vaseline: Yes, don’t forget the humble petroleum jelly! Use it as a lip balm (either right from a jar or by using Lip Therapy Advanced Healing) or as a primer under lipstick, tame your brows, highlight your cheekbones, moisturize dry cuticles, define your lashes if you’re going sans mascara, and more. Pick it up at your local grocery store, or at Amazon for $3 for 2.5 oz.

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How to Get on a Board

How to Get on a Board | CorporetteJoining a nonprofit board allows you to lend a hand for a good cause, build your professional network, develop your skills, and even advance your career. But what is the best way to get on a board — and how should you evaluate board membership opportunities to determine whether a particular organization is the right one for you?

We’ve previously talked about making friends and networkingstrategic volunteering, joining professional organizations, and charitable giving, but we haven’t talked about how to get on a board.

During conversations about board membership in our comment sections, two Corporette readers explained how rewarding they found their experiences:

The year-long process of putting myself out there [to join a board], figuring out what I care about, what my skills are, what organizations are doing good work… it was so valuable. It was great to push myself like that, and I think it will have huge benefits for me down the road, both in terms of career and personal growth. —Reader S

Lawyers (we’ve had a few since I’ve been on the board) are always welcome. It has been a great experience. … You might reach out to friends / contacts / coworkers whose volunteer work sounds interesting to you and explain you’re looking to become involved in X field, and ask if they know of any upcoming opportunities or have any suggestions for people to contact. —Reader A

If you’d like to get on a board, here are a few tips:

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The Hunt: Wool Coats for Work

coats for work

2017 Update: Check out our latest roundup of winter coats that work as hard as you do!

Sure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

After the weekend we’ve had (thank you Jonas), it may seem a bit silly to talk about professional-looking coats — after all, when it’s freezing, nasty and disgusting outside, being warm and dry are the primary considerations. Particularly when working from home is easier than ever, if you make it into the office at all, no one should be judging you for blizzard attire like an expedition coat and Sorels. But it isn’t blizzarding every day in the winter, and I still think a wool coat (or, fine, even a slim-fit puffer coat like some of the ones we featured on our roundup of washable coats for CorporetteMoms) does look more professional.  Shop for a winter coat that covers your thighs (for warmth, as well as the most versatility — nothing looks quite so silly as a peacoat and skirt), and be sure to size up if you need to to accommodate a sweater or blazer beneath your coat. (Other great layers: silk turtlenecks and long johns can add serious warmth without bulk, and there are so many puffer/fleece vests that I’m kind of tempted to try them under my winter coat on really cold days.) I’ve always looked for a wool/cashmere blend as the best (the cashmere makes it warm; the wool makes it durable), but I’ve also heard great things about alpaca’s warmth; these days you can find technical enhancements to wool like Lands’ End (pictured after the jump; it’s good to 10 below!!) or lined with thinsulate, like some J.Crew and LL Bean coats.  Ladies, what coats are you wearing this winter? How many do you have; which ones do you think are the most professional-looking, which are the warmest, and so forth? Have you recently bought any coats you love? 

First, a roundup of some special interest coats:

(If you’re interested in previous discussions, here’s our roundups from 2013 and 2009.)

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