Thursday’s TPS Report: “Lilia” Belted Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Antonio Melani "Lilia" Belted DressI’m really liking this square-necked dress from Antonio Melani. I like the darts and the fitted look, as well as the cap sleeves and the ladylike hem length. Personally, I’m not a fan of the belt, but that’s an easy swap. It was $159, now marked to $95.40 at Dillards (lots of sizes still left). Antonio Melani “Lilia” Belted Dress

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] with “TPS” in the subject line.



  1. Link doesn’t work, I get this message:

    “Oh no! 404: Page Not Found.”

    • Click on the picture to get to the link.

      Does anyone have tips re: Melani sizing?

      • I am a 6 and for me, Antonio Melani runs fairly true to size and occasionally a little big.

        I like his dresses a lot – they are quite flattering, especially for girls with busts/hips (I remember commenting a while ago here about how most sheath dresses don’t work for my body, but his dresses always do!).

      • I have this dress.

        It is fantistic! I love the fit, and it is great for the summer. It is also reasonably priced, which is a good thing! My husband encourages me to find dresses like these that do not require us to “mortgage the house!”

        Great find!

      • In my experience, they fit true to size. I have an Antonio Melani dress in my usual Banana Republic, Ann Taylor and J. Crew size. Interesting SS says this line works well for “girls with busts/hips.” I haven’t got much going on in either category (34A and 26″ hips) and I think the one I have is flattering on my shape too.

    • Lovely dress. I like that it’s a brownish tweed instead of the usual black. Too bad there’s no brick and mortar store near me. I order online but prefer to return to a store.

  2. The link doesn’t work- but when you click on the picture of the dress it works. I love that this dress has cap sleeves- makes it so much more versatile for a conservative office.

  3. Tired Squared :

    Very pretty!

  4. Criminal Conversation :

    I’d have to see the fabric. In general, I’m not a big fan of fabric that is composed largely of synthetics.

  5. So. Many. Dresses. Recently.

    Dresses are cute and all, and nice in the summer, and more fun to ogle than shirts and pants, but … I’d love a bit more variety. For variety’s sake, but also because I cannot wear skirts/dresses to work, so I haven’t seen anything relevant for me in what feels like a long time …

    • anon-oh-no :

      what do you do that you cant wear skirts and dresses to work, yet are still in a corporate environment (i.e., the target audience of this blog)

      • I don’t think this blog is only for people in “corporate” environments, per se. There’s plenty of government and public interest lawyers, for instance, who hang out here.

        • I work in fundraising – non-profit work – and I love Corporette! I have to dress similarly to those in the corporate world and career/work advice is relevant to everyone …

        • anon-oh-no :

          I count that in the same category — i probably should have said “professional” not “corporate.” And I wasnt trying to be snarky (it kinda came off that way), I was just trying to understand if there is some job out there that doesnt let you wear skirts or something. When I was in law school, interviewed at a firm that, i kid you not, required women to wear skirts.

          • That makes sense. I think there are professional jobs where skirts could be an issue for various reasons. My first thought was that she might be a lawyer who regularly visits prisons to see clients and finds pants draw less attention.

          • Many scientific/lab professionals can’t wear skirts and dresses because of the kind of materials they work with on a daily basis. Likewise, many people working in IT are discouraged from skirts and dresses because of how much they’re up and down, under desks and on the floor. All professional jobs. :)

          • When I think of professional, I also think of those in the medical and science fields. Personally, those make me shudder, but I guess in some fields skirts and dresses may not work so well.

          • @Miriam Medicine and science make you shudder? Ouch!

          • @MHU, yes! I’m in law school and I can’t even handle talking about injuries. Just a personal thing and certainly not meant negatively towards those in medicine or science. I just don’t know how they do it! My father is a doctor and my friends are nurses. I would probably pass out! I’m in awe of those who can handle it every day.

      • somewhere(less)cold :

        I agree with Em’s comment.

        I’ve seen posters mention that they are in IT and sometimes have to crawl under desks, which can make it less than desirable to have a lot of skirts/dresses in your work wardrobe (although I don’t know if that’s Bridget’s reason).

        • Or teachers of young age groups. There is a lot of kneeling, squatting, sitting cross legged on the floor, etc. that goes with being a first grade teacher!

          • Just starting :

            Not a professional job…

          • Just starting: certainly not a corporate professional job, but I’d argue that any job that requires a college degree and in many cases graduate work is, in fact, a professional job. Or is education done by hobbyists?

          • What makes being a teacher “not a professional job”, exactly?

            Or better yet, what is the checklist for a job being a “professional job”?

          • @Oneanon and AJ – historically, the professions are law, medicine, and the clergy – i.e. those careers requiring one to profess an oath. However, the definition has generally expanded in modern times in include all career-track fields, although sometimes it’s used to refer to white-collar, office jobs only (the latter would exclude teachers).

          • Wiki has a decent explanation about what makes something a profession:

          • Just starting :

            Just want to say that my intent was not to be rude :) I would not consider teaching to be a profession. I think of white collar work only as professional.

          • This thread is probably dead, but I think where I get stuck is that if you say you consider white collar work only as being professional, then do you consider teaching to be blue collar work? I don’t. Is there a middle shade here?

          • Oneanon: Yes, the dreaded pink collar – requires considerable education, including in the case of library science a master’s degree, but traditionally “women’s work.”

            Personally, I feel that we should open our minds a little bit more as to what is considered professional, if only because there is a vast middle ground between the three traditional professions and blue collar work. Where do the rest of us fall? For example, I am neither doctor nor lawyer no banker, and in fact have an educational path that would be considered pink collar, but I’m in charge of research and knowledge management for an international consulting firm. I’d be somewhat annoyed if someone informed me I wasn’t a professional.

      • i also think it’s important to remember that some (many) women prefer not to wear dresses or skirts at all, but that doesn’t make their style choices any less corporate/professional!

      • I worked one summer at a research lab where pants and closed toe shoes were mandatory. The one day I wore a skirt was when I had to do a presentation.

    • I cannot wear skirts for religious reasons, but I decided not to mention that in my original post so as not to be distracting from my point. Of course, I see that my vague comment perhaps ended up being more distracting than anything! So I apologize. But at least the conversation demonstrated that I am not alone and there are many women who cannot wear dresses/skirts. And many others, as Zelda mentioned, who choose not to. So it would be nice to have some more variety in the selections … even during the summer!

      • lawtalkinggirl :

        I am curious – what religion does not allow women to wear skirts? I am only familiar with religions that do not allow women to wear pants.

        • I’m Muslim. I choose not to expose my legs. So I wear long skirts in my off-time, but those are not professional, so skirts are effectively out for work purposes.

          • lawtalkinggirl :

            I see! You are right, for some reason long skirts just do not look professional. I don’t know why; they just don’t.

  6. somewhere(less)cold :

    Early threadjack: I was in a car accident in the fall where someone from the oncoming lane crossed the line and hit me head on/sideswipe. I was very, very fortunate and ended up with injuries much less severe than they could have been. There was never a question of fault, and my insurance co paid up front for my bills (rental car, medical expenses) and my totaled car. I do have some outstanding expenses that I am expecting to recover from the at fault driver’s insurance co.

    My question is–should I find an attorney for this, or should I try to handle it myself? My husband and I are both young lawyers, but I don’t know that I should necessarily represent myself if I need representation, I’m more wondering how big of a deal this might get into and how this process generally works. Any advice appreciated! TIA.

    • I do some of this work from a different perspective and offer this limited advice: If you don’t know the insurance issues involved, I would suggest an attorney, but they usually want to take 30%, so it may depend at how much money is at stake. Also, there are a lot of attorneys that do this type of work and their skill (and/or time to handle all their cases) varies significantly. If you can get one through a personal referral (perhaps through the attorneys at your or your husband’s firm/workplace), you should. Just picking one you don’t know anything about could be costly.

    • I had a car accident where fault was never disputed, but the insurance company completely bungled everything (never talked to witnesses, etc) and 11 months later told me they’d decided to settle with the other driver’s insurance company and that I was 20% liable for the claims and they’d pay 80%. So I wish I’d hired an attorney. Just because it seems straightforward, doesn’t mean the insurance won’t f- it up, and if there’s a decent amount of money involved I’d want to have someone who knows the system advocating for me.

      • They = the other driver. In the long run it meant that I had to pay 20% of my deductible.

    • My husband and I were in a similar situation last Fall. We were T-boned as we crossed an intersection on a green light, our car was overturned and totaled, but we were essentially OK. Our insurance paid for the car (actually gave us more than we had recently paid for it!). The other driver, who was clearly at fault according to several witnesses, was charged by the police with reckless driving. We happened to have the same insurance company as that driver. We dealt with getting our expenses reimbursed from the other driver’s policy ourselves, without getting a lawyer. It worked out fine in the end, but we did wind up with an incompetent claims processor who slowed things down significantly for several months, but eventually we were able to get someone else on his “team” onto our case and it was wrapped up in a couple of weeks. We are not attorneys and the whole thing just required good record keeping (what you want to be reimbursed for, with receipts, and track your contacts with the insurance company), so I think anyone who is reasonably organized would have a good shot at resolving the situation without paying an attorney. That said, if you are looking for some $$ over and above just expenses, I think a lawyer would be helpful.

    • somwhere (less) cold – I recommend hiring an attorney. I handle these types of cases (on both sides) so I am very familiar with the process. If it were me, I would absolutely hire another lawyer to represent my interests because I would be afraid that (1) emotion may get in the way of negotiating a proper settlement with the driver’s insurer, (2) you need someone to negotiate down the medical liens, (3) a demand letter would have less “street cred.” if you authored it yourself (e.g. are you putting it on your firm’s letter head? Does your firm hand P.I. cases? Or, are you writing it on your personal letter head?), and (4) if it is someone’s job to move this all along for you, you will end up with a result that much sooner. The lawyer will definitely take 33%, but my sense is that they will be able ot negotiate a higher settlement and negotiate down your medical liens such that it is worth it.

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      I handle a lot of PI cases and I recommend getting an attorney. I don’t have numbers in front of me, but I can almost say with certainty that people who are represented by attorneys recover more than those who represent themselves. Also, a PI attorney will probably be able to do things like convince the adjuster to tell them the insurance limits of the person that hit you. Also PI attorneys may be familiar with lot of adjusters and already have the machinery in place to deal with these kinds of cases.

      Even in my office, one of the PI attorneys was in a car accident and he is having one of the other attorneys in my office represent him.

      I would recommend trying to find someone that you can trust and that will keep you filled in on the process. Maybe one of your classmates works for a PI firm? You might be able to get a discount this way and you would be building connections with attorneys in your geo area.

    • somewhere(less)cold :

      Thanks for all these responses, great points I need to think about.

    • A number of years ago I was in a very serious head-on collision which resulted in me being hospitalized for a while and the other driver died. After I recovered, I started law school and spent the next two years dealing with my insurance company (they paid up front for my wrecked car and all of my hospital bills, so what was left was pain and suffering and trying to put a figure on what my future medical bills might look like). I knew that if I hired a lawyer I’d lose 30% off the top, so I did a lot of research into what I thought my damages were. I came up with a number that I felt like was fair and made me happy and wrote a detailed letter to the insurance company explaining why I felt I deserved that amount (it was a very long letter, filled with some tear-jerker stories that I hoped would help them realize how much they didn’t want this in front of a jury) and that I was prepared to go to court if necessary, and within a week I had a check in my hand that, while not everything I asked for, was pretty darn close. I’ve never looked back and never regretted my decision.

      That being said, I had to do a lot of research to get to the point where I felt comfortable estimating my damages and feeling like I hadn’t left anything on the table. I also had to be willing to hire a lawyer if the insurance company rejected my request.

      All of which is a long way of saying that you can take the first steps yourself without a lawyer, so long as you’re prepared to do the legwork and are prepared to hire a lawyer if negotiations don’t work. Otherwise, you’ll probably need a lawyer.

  7. (Sorry if this posts twice, I got the “posting too quickly” error the first time.)

    Workout threadjack–

    Not too long ago some of you were touting barre classes for toning the butt/thigh area. This is pretty much exactly what I need, but unfortunately I can’t afford the classes in my area. Has anyone tried DVDs and found them effective? Would I need a lot of equipment?

    • I haven’t tried DVDs but I take the stairs whenever I can, even where there is an elevator and I find that really helps.

    • No equipment (maybe a chair). I just got some DVD’s (2 that were under $35 total from Amazon) but haven’t tried them yet. I think based on the workout, you could do just as well at home – but you might want to take a class or two to understand the form for some of the exercises.
      I’m not sure barre is the miracle everyone suggests, but I’ve taken a few classes (I, too, find them a little out of my price range to keep taking) and they definitely leave me sore for a few days. I guess we’ll see!

    • anon-oh-no :

      Im not sure if “the bar method” is what you are referring to, but its fantastic! They have recently opened studios in many cities across the country, but i have still never been to a live class. I have two dvds that i bought about 6 or 7 years ago and they are awesome. you wont be able to walk the day after you first do it, but it gets better and if you keep at it, you will notice results.

      • A first Bar Method studio opened in DC at the end of June, and I bought an unlimited 30 day trial package at a promotional rate. Thus far, I absolutely love it and end up going about 3-4 times a week. I do yoga as well, but am seriously considering dropping that membership in favor of Bar Method. The workout is incredible and it’s all in one hour. You burn calories, tone muscles and lose weight- what’s there not to love? While the regular price of the classes is pretty high, I am seriously considering shelling out the money. So yes, a total convert and a fan.

    • found a peanut :

      I tried the Physique 57 DVDs and they were pretty effective. I think all you’d need is a high-backed chair, a playground ball (like a soccer ball, something like that), a mat, and light and mid weights.

    • Thanks for the replies!

      The studios around here do offer a discounted month for first-timers, so that’s a good point that I could check out some live classes to pick up the technique and then see if I want to try the DVDs.

      And A, that’s a great comment about taking the stairs. I’m cooped up bar studying right now (a big part of why I feel so restless and unfit) but I should make myself go up and down the apartment stairs a few times during my hourly breaks to get some exercise and clear my head.

    • I am also very interested in responses to this! I used to take ballet classes and it was the best workout.

    • I have done a lot of ballet but the only DVDs I’ve tried are the floor barre DVDs that are put out by NYC Ballet (I believe). They are wicked (in both meanings of the word) and I highly recommend them for a good workout. I am too chicken to buy them myself (I used a friend’s before) due to the excruciating pain I experienced when I tried them. Don’t know if NYC Ballet also does regular barre DVDs, but it might be worth checking out.

      • I didn’t know that they put out those types of videos! Do you have any idea how much they cost? Ballet was the only thing that got me in great shape and I need a video or class to stick with it.

        • I don’t know, but the DVDs might be on the NYC Ballet website – I haven’t checked.

        • These are great videos. Just search for New York City ballet on Amazon. Love them.

        • I found the descriptions on the NYC Ballet website, but I didn’t see where they actually sold them. They did list the production company though, so I went to their website and it looks like you can buy the 2-volume set from it (link altered to avoid moderation):

          www (dot) (dot) html

      • I used to do these, but I’d really prefer if they made a regular barre version. The floor barre is not as fun.

      • The New York City Ballet Workout DVDs (there are 2, from the early 2000s I think) have some great abs & arms exercises, as well as some center work (but no traditional barre). Yumiko was selling a floor barre DVD that looked good (although I didn’t try it, so I can’t vouch for it), but IMO the best floor barre DVDs are from Zeno Rommett. They are low-budget, to say the least, but they’re great.

        If you’re ever in New York, Steps on Broadway has some excellent floor barre classes (Emelietta Ettlin is amazing) and, obviously, some of the best ballet teachers around if you want to take a regular class.

    • One of the NYT blogs had a story about barre classes today!

  8. Article/blog post about capri length or ankle length pants.

    I tend to wear ankle length pants in the summer (usually on casual fridays or days when I’m unlikely to see clients/ lots of partners). I think they are adorable, but I don’t know how professional they are.

    • I think capris are nice for casual Fridays. One of our interns wore a capri pant suit on a regular day though (business casual office). I kinda did a double take – the casualness of the capris somewhat negated the formality of wearing a suit.

    • In my mind, capri length pants (which show the lower part of the calf) are shorter than ankle length (which show none). I think ankle length is fine for professional environments, but I could see capri length being too formal.

    • Ankle– audrey hepburn cigarette with flat– is more-often applicable than mid-calf or notched leg or otherwise openly summery capri. Know your office, but capris are less formal. I would not wear capris in my office any day could definitely wear ankle pants on Fridays and depending on fabric and outfit, maybe any day of the week. Ankle used to be caled skinny pants before skinny jeans (love) made the skinny ting SO jegging jodper formfitting skinny. Ankle pants are almos full-length, cropped but slm, rather than capri-y breezey.

      • Diana Barry :

        Ditto to this post. Also, if you look at the length of the pants (the “cafe capri”) in the J Crew big picture on the jcrewaficionada site or on J crew, they are ankle pants, not shorter capris.

      • Ankle seem okay (and are even cute), but I just don’t really like capri/mid-calf. Not due to casual-ness, but instead for the fact that they don’t seem to flatter … anyone.

        • agreed. capris cut off at the worst part of your leg. so unflattering. no matter what your body type. just stay away.

    • Let me ask y’all a question about ankle pants, which I agree are so cute. The slim cut ankle pants – can I wear them if I’m overweight? I’m a size 14 and probably considered an apple shape. What about skinny jeans? Do they only work if your thighs and calves aren’t totally disproportionate? Audrey Hepburn is such a style icon, but alas, our bodies couldn’t be more different. Thanks, Ladies!

      • I think you can certainly wear them. Some things I would look for:
        1) more of a straight leg (slight taper) than a really tight taper at the ankle;
        2) proper fit (not too tight);
        3) high-quality details (pockets, waistband); and
        4) high-quality fabric (nice, thick fabric with a little stretch).

      • I’m a size 14 as well, but an hourglass. I wear skinny jeans and slim leg ankle pants (which I joke are in my size not cigarette pants, but rather cigar pants), and it’s all about making sure they are the right length, come up high enough to avoid muffin top lines that break up the long lean look, and fabulous shoes. I usually try to wear something a bit longer on top–not necessarily a tunic–to elongate the look.

        Rock on!

      • Thanks, Ladies! I will start looking. And I love the ‘cigar pants’ phrase too. :)

  9. Threadjack: One of the partners invited all of the other attorneys and spouses to dinner this weekend (small, very casual firm, 4 total attorneys, the other 3 are older than my parents). Should I bring something? I responded to the email asking, but got no response. I’ve already bragged on my cooking skills, but I’m not sure what’s being served, so don’t know what would be appropriate. I guess that I could just bring a bottle of wine, so as not to show up empty handed, but I always feel weird about that (What kind, how much to spend, what if some people don’t drink, what if it doesn’t go). Maybe an appertif instead? (that they could offer, or not, after dinner) Or just a box of chocolates for a hostess gift?

    I think that I’m just realizing that I’ve never been to dinner at anyone’s house that wasn’t either family/close friends casual or a true party.

    • I would drop by the partner’s office at some point today and ask if you can bring anything. If he/she says no, then show up empty handed and send flowers the next day.

    • Yes, bring something (people do in my office for this kind of thing). A bakery dessert is an option (e.g., a nice fruit tart) but most people will probably bring wine. I probably would avoid preparing a dish unless it’s specifically billed as a pot-luck (which it’s not). A hostess gift along the lines of a box of chocolates is fine too.

      • Or a bottle of wine that is specifically not chilled, so that they know it’s a gift, and you don’t have to worry about pairing it with the food. This is of course if you know they drink wine.

    • Wine… Depends on food being served so be prepared that they may not open it for dinner. Alternatively box of chocs, macaroons, etc? Or maybe send flowers in advance.

    • When you’re invited to a dinner like that, you should not offer to bring food. Never, ever, ever unless it’s specifically a pot-luck, BBQ or a family thing. Bring a small gift or a nice bottle of wine – but don’t expect for them to open the wine to serve at the dinner. In fact, I like to say, “This is something for you to enjoy later” so they don’t feel obligated. That covers you if they don’t drink (they can re-gift or discard), or if it doesn’t pair well with the food (b/c they probably have already made a selection). A box of chocolates would also be fine. And send a thank-you note afterward. As far as how much to spend, that depends. For a muckety-muck, I spend about $40 for a bottle (which is a lot for me). For a peer, I’d spend in the $20 range. I generally go to a store with an expert and ask them to help me make a selection that is a real value for my budget. Then I can say “I’ve never had it, but it comes highly recommended.” (That way if it’s crap, they won’t assume you have bad taste in wine.)

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Do not show up empty handed, and do not bring anything intended to be consumed at the party (like a bakery dessert). Unless requested by the hostess, this implies that the hostess is incompetent and wouldn’t have thought out what she is serving for dessert, or that you are assuming you wouldn’t like HER dessert, so you brought one yourself. Flowers are also a bad idea – the hostess has to drop what she’s doing and find a vase for your flowers. And she may have allergies you are unaware of. Instead, wine or chocolates, which you should not expect to be opened at the meal (it is a gift for the *hostess,* not the guests such as yourself) or another gift around $25. I like to give fancy Williams Sonoma kitchen candles (they are pretty and work great at getting cooking smells out of a kitchen), a fancy bottle of olive oil, or other consumable item obviously not intended for consumption at the party.

      I bet LPC has a plethora of ideas on nice hostess gifts.

      • I think she actually did a post on the subject for Privilege!

      • Diana Barry :

        Ditto. Bottle of wine (nice, maybe $30) or other fancy Williams Sonoma gift is a good idea.

      • I’d amend the flower comment – they’re fine as long as you don’t show up with them in hand. Flowers can be sent before or after the meal (i.e. that afternoon or the next day), and should arrive with a vase. I agree with SF that you don’t want to make the hostess drop whatever she’s doing.

        • I don’t mind if guests arrive with flowers! It is nice if they’re already in a vase, though.

      • FWIW – I love getting flowers from my guests, and don’t find it burdensome.

        • anon-oh-no :

          I agree its nice to get flowers. But the traditional rule is that you should not bring flowers, for the reasons posted above.

      • This, except I would amend SF Bay Associate’s comment on flowers – if you go to a flower shop you can usually get an arrangement already done up in a vase, or a hand-tied bouquet – it doesn’t have to be big. Either way, the hostess doesn’t have to arrange them – if a hand-tied bouquet, she just has to plunk them in some water.

        I often bring something like ice wine that the hosts can enjoy by themselves later.

    • I would not bring something to eat with the meal without getting permission from the host/hostess. It would put her in an awkward position if she’s made a fantastic dessert and you bring an equally fantastic dessert. I suspect much planning has gone in to the menu. A friend brought me a box of fine chocolates made specifically to enjoy while drinking red wine. Something very nice and something I never would’ve bought myself.

      I think it’s perfectly appropriate to bring nothing if the partner says no and send a thank you note the next day.

      • If you say to the host ,”Can I bring anything?” and they say no, they generally mean, “You do not need to bring anything to help me out.” That doesn’t mean you should ever show up empty-handed. If you know the person well, another nice gesture can be to call an hour beforehand and ask if they need you to pick anything up on the way (i.e., ice, a loaf of bread, etc.). Again, this doesn’t replace a small host/ess gift.

        • You are right. I like your suggestion about calling an hour or so beforehand, though I’d probably be more likely to do this w/ a friend’s dinner party than a b0ss’s dinner party.

    • Chocolates, wine, or flowers (sent before or after is best, b/c otherwise you may end up hanging around awkwardly holding the flowers while you wait for the host/ess to grab a vase). Plus a handwritten thank you note (it really doesn’t need to say much – you can also send this after and reference how amazing the meal, company, conversation, whatever was, in which case just tie a little handwritten thank you tag to the wine or chocolates). No food or dessert, whether you made it yourself or picked it up at a great bakery. Fancy hostess gifts (like the Williams Sonoma suggestions in this thread) are also good but I tend to avoid them just so I don’t end up standing in the store paralyzed by even more choices. :)

    • Don’t bring food. I absolutely hate it when I have planned a menu and someone brings an unsolicited dish. It disrupts the menu, which I’ve usually planned in detail, I feel obligated to put it out for my guests to eat, and the inevitable result is that I end up with leftovers. I think it’s rude to bring food to a dinner party unless the hostess explicitly says guests should bring a dish.

      A hostess gift or a bottle of wine (that you don’t necessarily expect to be opened at the party) is always appreciated. So are flowers, especially if you bring them already in a vase.

      • I agree with this. I would not offer to bring a dish except to a friend’s casual party, and I would give prior warning of what I was bringing, and roughly how many portions!

      • I once was invited to a holiday part of a friend in our social circle, and we arrived with a bottle of wine specifically as a hostess gift (which I mentioned she could enjoy later, since she was pregnant at the time). She asked me if I wanted to open it to drink, and I said no, repeating it was a gift. Then… She proceeded to ask her husband if we (my husband and I) could “have one of his beers.” ONE of his beers. This was after hosting them at several full-bar parties at our home. There was absolutely no mention that it was BYOB. We had left the most amazing catered holiday party in order to attend hers that night, because she had finally reciprocated with an invitation. It was the last time we voluntarily socialized with them.

        • Oh, that is really odd unless she had something against serving alcohol maybe?

        • I doubt they thought of it as BYOB, but some people just don’t think a dinner party requires alcohol and clearly none had been purchased for that purpose. It sounds like they’re not people you especially like to hang out with anyway, but if this were their only infraction I’d say you’re being a little harsh – not to mention the fact that if I were bringing a hostess gift for a pregnant friend, I’d definitely bring something other than alcohol.

          • Anonymous :

            “Some people just don’t think a dinner party requires alcohol and clearly none had been purchased for that purpose.”

            This. I drink exceedingly infrequently (maybe 3-4 beers or glasses of wine per year) and I don’t buy alcohol when I invite people over for a bbq, dinner, etc. If that makes me a crappy hostess, then I’m okay with that – but they keep coming back so I think I’m okay. I also have no problem if people want to bring their own! But I’d never be all “Hey come to my party but I won’t be serving alcohol but please bring some if you want it because I have no problems if you want to drink” because that seems very, very awkward.

          • Also, I’m not sure I’d expect a pregnant friend to be serving alcohol either. I mean, great if they do, but I wouldn’t blame someone for not serving something they can’t partake in.

          • I don’t think I’ve ever been to a dinner party that didn’t involve at least wine.

          • 100% agree with the last statement. A gift of alcohol for a pregnant woman seems not very thoughtful.

          • No, no. It was a holiday party. Not a dinner party. And they both drink alcohol. They always brought a bottle of wine to parties at our house (and then she would drink martinis all night and he would drink the beer we’d specifically have on hand for him). There was a LOT of booze at their party, which had already started when we got there. He was drinking, she wasn’t (of course). People we hadn’t met before were literally sitting around with small coolers of booze at their sides. None of the rest of our circle of friends were there, so it was just bizarre since BYOB was never mentioned and wasn’t at all typical of our experiences with them at our house or our other friends-in-common’s homes where cocktails are the norm. And as far as the wine for the pregnant friend, trust me, it was perfectly appropriate. It was a special wine, specifically for her. That’s why we specifically didn’t want to open at the party.

            Anyway, it was weird. Weird, weird, weird.

            And I have NO problem with non-alcohol parties. I’m happy to attend them. I just don’t throw them. Same with BYOB. I’ll BMOB (and *share*), but I like to provide a variety of drinks (non-alcoholic included) for my guests.

      • I agree. A friend of mine sends flowers the day before the dinner which I love. I know what I’m dealing with and often co-ordinate the table setting with the beautiful flowers.

    • Lyssa,
      I agree with the others who suggested not bringing food. A bottle of wine is standard, but I find that the host usually feels obligated to open it at the dinner. I like better the idea of a food-related gift. Just yesterday I visited an artisanal olive oil & balsamic vinegar stand at the farmer’s market and thought that their bottles would be perfect hostess gifts.

    • Valleygirl :

      I always go with send flowers the next day with a note saying what a nice time you had… the idea being that flowers day of/at the event (or any gift you bring to the event) inconveniences the host because they have to stop what they’re doing to deal with your gift.

  10. Last week (I think) someone asked about a meal planning service. I signed up for Relish and wanted to give my review:
    I was impressed by the way the service functions and was attracted to the insta-grocery list it provides you, as well as the fact that the weekly menus use some of the same ingredients to prevent waste. However. I just wasn’t inspired by their meal choices and ended up cancelling my subscription. It’s completely a personal preference issue, so that doesn’t mean that the site wouldn’t appeal to others. I just love food way too much to feel boxed in about it.

    The entire process did motivate me to meal plan and grocery shop once per week, though.

    • That was me! I’ve been slammed so I haven’t had a cance to impliment the other suggestions but I will add Relish to the list in case their menu selection works for us. I’ll report back!

  11. Following up on the nude/neutral shoes post from a few days ago, one of the sales on Gilt today is a whole selection of neutral shoes.

  12. Another threadjack: I’m in serious need of some advice on what to wear in a conservative (but not formal) academic environment. I’ve recently finished my PhD and started a postdoc at an Ivy League university in the social sciences. My department is almost entirely male, so I don’t have too many female colleagues to emulate. Typical work wear around here is neutral colored slacks, cotton button-down shirts and sweaters (with a few emeritus professors who still wear suits and bow ties!). When I have worn dressier outfits here (wool pencil skirt in a neutral color, blouse, heels) people ask why I’m so dressed up; but when I wear neutral pants and somewhat casual tops I look much too young (I was recently mistaken for an undergrad student by a well-meaning librarian).

    My attempts at trying to dress less like a student and more like a young professional are clearly missing the mark here. Any suggestions on strategies for dressing in a way that will indicate that I am a colleague but will not look overly “dressed up” in this environment?

    • You need to worry more about how your students perceive you than how your colleagues perceive you. If you look young enough to be mistaken for an undergrad, you need to dress in a way that distinguishes you from your students and makes your students perceive you as a serious, smart authority in your area, rather than one of them. The skirt, blouse, and heels look will help. Make sure your blouses and skirts are serious, not the shiny, sparkly kind that wouldn’t look out of place in a bar – those blouses tend to be youth-ening.

      On days when you’re not teaching or seeing students, then I think it’s fine to be more casual. I’d wear trousers, never jeans (because jeans are the mark of the undergrad), with a conservative top and leather shoes. That should be formal enough to distinguish you from students but casual enough for a laid-back day at the office.

      • Eponine,
        Just wanted to say that I have found many of your suggestions appropriate for me. Thanks:)

        BTW should that have been ‘appropriate to me’? My way felt *righter*:)

        • NP. I adjunct and I look youngish, too, so I’d put some thought into this.

          I think for me is correct.

      • Thanks for the thoughts — I have a “research only” position right now and I don’t have to worry about teaching, but I think you’re absolutely right about dressing authoritatively in the classroom. In my particular case I’m more worried about looking like a grad student/research assistant when I’m introduced to colleagues and especially collaborators who might be hiring later on.

    • You’re lucky. I would have loved to go to an ivy league college (just to see) sigh

    • I would go with the dressier “grown-up” items in your wardrobe, and if people ask why you’re so dressed up, IMO you can say with a smile, “So the librarians won’t mistake me for an undergrad again!”

      I was mistaken in my first year of teaching for a student, for the “department secretary,” (no such position – we’re a small dept.), and for someone (unspecified) in administration. So I started dressing more carefully/nicely (my students virtually never wear heels, for instance, so I usually do.) As I’ve gotten to know more folks on campus (just finished my third year at the institution) I’ve felt free to get more creative with my clothes, but I am no longer mistaken for a student.

      You might also consider a different, more professional hairstyle if you think that would help.

    • I agree with Eponine, but I’ll add that to some degree, you’re probably just going to have to accept that people will mistake you for a student for a while. I’m an attorney, and a few weeks ago a security guard at the small town courthouse, who has said “hi, how ya doing” to me a thousand times, every single one of which I was wearing a suit and pumps, asked me if I was a runner.

      A runner! I’m 31 years old! And what runner wears pumps and a jacket? *shakes head*

      • lawtalkinggirl :

        Yes, people will continue to mistake you for a student until they get to know you. I am a 32-year-old lawyer and not infrequently I am mistaken for a college student, even though I wear conservative office clothes every day (even casual Friday). There is only so much one can do to appear older.

      • One of the bailiffs in our courthouse asks me for my last name every time I enter the courtroom and check in with her for court appearances. I wouldn’t mind it, except she asks all the criminal defendants for their last names but asks all the attorneys who their clients are…

    • I think heels vs flats can be important here. E.g., if you wear wool skirt + blouse but with nice, solid flats or low, chunk-ier heels, it will make the look much less dressy while still retaining a sense of formality. Also consider jewelry — you have a lot of leeway to be creative, so get some fun necklaces that will set you apart from the students but will not be so stuffy as to make it look like you’re on your way to a job interview.

      I would also consider some fun blazers. Nothing stuffy, per se, but something you can pair with a dress or pants to give you an air of authority. Boden often has some cute, non-stuffy ones that would be perfect for an academic environment. Sometimes Anthropologie and Jcrew have cute options, too (in JCrew, look under “blazers”, not in “suiting”).

      • LadyEnginerd :

        As a current PhD student in the physical sciences, I’m going to offer a slightly different perspective. I think that in a university environment, you do need to be careful not to look *too* put together or you will be mistaken for (1) a secretary/member of administrative staff or (2) a vendor or someone else who does not belong. Hitting that fine professorial line between student and secretary is tough, particular for women.

        When not mucking about in the lab, the general uniform that seems to work for female grad students/postdocs is: polished shoes, dark jeans or trousers, “nice” t-shirt or thin sweater, and as AIMS suggests, a non-stuffy blazer (students don’t wear blazers, but they do wear cardigans). Polished makeup certainly helps. Over here in the physical sciences, a skirt and heels are a dead giveaway you aren’t going into a lab, and you’re more likely to be mistaken for an secretary.

        ps. long-time lurker, first-time poster. hello everyone!

        • This is definitely a problem — I do part of my research in an associated teaching hospital, and I was mistaken for a drug rep once!

        • Alanna of Trebond :

          You know, I’m not sure about some of the advice to dress down — the woman we hired (at my Ivy League chemical engineering department, in my past life) as a professor always dressed a notch above the men — heels, nice shirt, slacks and was also very attractive. She looked extremely put together and was always taken very seriously (and was quite serious). Usually cardigan and not blazer though. I think wearing heels was fine — although I agree with your consideration about skirts in lab.

    • I suggest you have a look at the blog “Academichic”. The ladies there are all in precisely your situation.

      • second this.

      • Charlotte :

        I was totally going to just say this.

      • The academic dress code varies a great deal accross departments. Like LadyEninerd I’m in the physical sciences and can’t imagine wearing what Academicchic wears, even though I’m sure it’s appropriate for her situation.

    • I was totally mistaken for a student when I went to pick up my students’ exams for grading from Ac Services, if it’s any consolation! And I was wearing a sheath dress and heels…

    • Thanks for all of the advice! I’ll try some dress flats and casual blazers. I’m thinking also maybe buying pieces with very basic silhouettes but with better tailoring/nicer fabric might help? I also cut my long hair into a bob following the librarian incident and perhaps that will help too.

      Looking young in academia is really tricky, sometimes “young” reads as “hip with fresh ideas” and sometimes it reads as “too inexperienced for a tenure track job.” I look more babyfaced that hip, and I’m afraid it’s going to work against me when I’m on the job market again soon.

  13. Proud Aunt :

    My niece was just selected as an NBC Page in Burbank after an arduous application/testing/interview process and is very excited. The program lasts a year and she has been told that “almost all” of the pages end up with a full-time, permanent position before the year is out. She wants to do film production but would be happy to start in TV production. The stipend is $10 an hour, no benefits, so she could not live in LA on that. Her parents are willing to subsidize this for awhile (unlike her brother, she did not do semester abroad and went to a less expensive college), but the question is, is this a realistic entre into the film/tv industry? Our family is all lawyers or dentists and have no clue as to whether this is a great opportunity or just a way for NBC to get cheap labor from star-struck kids from the midwest who don’t know any better. Anyone here any experience or insight into this program? Should she do it?

    • Valleygirl (sorry this is a book) :

      I can sorta speak to this, I’m in the research/NPO field but my husband is in entertainment as a writer and the majority of our friends are in the industry. So – first off re salary – $20,800 a year is live-able if she’s very frugal (even for SoCal). And I say that more because I work with populations that support families of 4 for $20k. But it’s awesome that her parents are willing to support her and that will def make things easier. Not sure how familiar you are with neighborhoods, etc. around here but if she’s working in Bbank she should probably be able to find affordable housing in Bbank, Glendale, other parts of the San Fernando Valley. Esp. if she’s good with living with a roommate. Places to avoid looking to live are anywhere on the West Side (really nice but very $$) and downtown is fun to visit but a pain in the butt commute-wise to get to BBank.

      As for the jump to professional production positions… honestly, in general it’s a struggle for anyone to get into the business and it can be very frustrating. As my husband (from Philly/NYC) likes to say – in NYC people will tell you no flat out and that’s the end of it. In LA, people will say they’ll help you out, etc. and then never come through. Basically experience and luck are the biggest determining factors – so the page position is good for building up the experience and may help with the luck by placing her in a position to network with higher ups. I’d suggest she get a very clear idea of what she wants to ultimately do (writer for film, writer for TV, production assistant, writing assistant, post-production). Film production is somewhat vague… so being able to clearly say, “I want to do ultimately do X, so I’m currently pursing Y-types of positions” is key.

      I def know some people who have gone from mailroom clerk to production positions – key points for making the best of the page position to advance:
      1) most folks I know who work on the lot totally embody bus casual. dress professionally the first day but be very aware of the culture – recognize you’re not the boss so shorts might not be the best look for you – but also recognize that if you’re wearing a suit and everyone else is in cargo shorts it will seem like you just don’t get it.
      2) Be pleasant. Don’t come off like a know it all, don’t assume that your degree in film makes you smarter about something than the hs grad who’s been in the position for 10 years, know your place in the food chain.
      3) Volunteer/step up to do stuff. As a page or PA (production assistant) it is, in fact, your job to get coffee, drop off dry cleaning, run errands, etc.
      4) Attend any screenings/industry events you can and network your butt off
      5) Don’t play the midwestern country mouse visiting the city for the first time. This means not commenting on “how bad traffic is all the time!”**, the weather, how crazy californians are, how many of the fill-in-the-blank minority group members there are, how back home there was only “blank.” The idea that there is traffic, a very diverse population, a diverse landscape, etc. is something we get and don’t need to hear about.
      6) And this is a big one, when you see a celeb on the lot or just in life. Don’t spazz out. Don’t ask for photos, autographs, don’t point and stare. Behave as normal. One of the easiest ways to get kicked off a lot is to make the celeb uncomfortable.

      Basically she needs to be prepared to work her butt off and accept that she’s at the bottom of the food chain. Best bet for long-term gigs would also probably be finding mid-high people who she can demonstrate her abilities to and hopefully have them help her find a long term position with them or someone they know.

      ** the exception to the traffic talk being Carmageddon because that’s going to be nuts.

    • Congratulations to your neice! I have no substantive comment, I just wanted to say that I saw “NBC Page” and thought of Kenneth on 30 Rock, and it made me smile. Thanks for brightening my afternoon. :)

      • Anonymous :

        The page program at NBC is quite prestigious, and a good segue into the entertainment business. The program is very selective so having the stint on a resume adds instant credibility. It’s no guarantee, of course. If nothing else, she has been given the opportunity to rub elbows with people are are in the field she’d like to get into. She should be prepared to work hard and take on menial jobs (like babysitting children of guests on shows, for example) in exchange for access to full-time job opportunities that at the very least she may hear about before outsiders do.

  14. What to wear? :

    I’m going to the U2 concert tonight!!! I haven’t been to a concert in 20 years. What should I wear? I was thinking jeans, cute top, and some funky jewelry. Does that sound about right or do people dress up more/less?

    • Your outfit looks great.
      Try not to bring a purse. if you won’t have a car nearby try to have a scarf of little cardigan in case it gets chilly.
      Wear something that you don’t mind having colored liquids spilled on.
      Wear comfortable but sturdy shoes that will protect your toes in case they get stepped on.
      Have an emergency contact list on you.
      And enjoy :)

    • You sound on the borderline of overdressed – I always wear jeans and a t-shirt and most other people dress similarly. Wear comfortable shoes b/c you’ll be standing the whole time. Don’t wear any jewelry you’d miss if it got pulled off if you end up jostled in a crowd.

    • Anonymous :

      Less! I went to the U2 show when it was through here. I second everything that Houda and Duckie said.

    • We went to the show recently and I’d say dress up less. Keep in mind that it will be hot and crowded. I wore a sundress and was still hot.

  15. firstimeposter :

    Threadjack: Was just invited to a client outing at a baseball game tomorrow (watching from a rooftop overlooking the park) — Partner is wearing khakis/jeans with a golf shirt. colleagues and clients will all be quite senior to me. any advice on appropriate attire? Management consulting firm, midwest. Considering jcrew cotton cardigan, khaki colored CE work skirt, flats. Would have to go out and buy any of the following: non-skinny jeans, khakis, etc.
    From a long time reader first time poster — thank you!

    • Anonymous :

      Taking a guess here but if you are in Chicago, many of the rooftop viewing spots at Wrigley have a few rows of bleachers and they are elevated, so there’s the chance someone standing beneath could get look up your skirt when you are walking to/from your seat. I’d go out and buy khakis (any color) and pair with the rest of your suggested items.

    • Do you have a top in the home team’s color? If I was going to a Cardinals game, for example, I’d wear a red top with khaki capris or skirt or a conservatively cut jean skirt. I’d also consider a conservative sun dress (i.e., no lingerie straps, not too short, etc.)

    • I second the pants > skirt comment. Clambering around bleachers / steps / sidling past people to get to your seat can be awkward in a skirt. I also would wear a top under your cardigan that can stand on its own, as you may be in the sun and be too hot.

      Have fun!

  16. I am starting my new life as an accountant in August. I was a math teacher for 15 years…pretty much wearing dress slacks or khakis with the school’s polo shirt everyday.

    Thanks to the advice here, I’m going to try and step it up a notch in my new job. I can see myself owning my own firm in the future, so that’s what I’m focusing on. I want clients to see a polished, put-together and knowledgeable professional.

    I read on here that someone suggested looking dressier without trying too hard by wearing dresses, so I went to Marshall’s yesterday (I’m still on my teacher’s salary :) )and found 2 sheath dresses and a nice lime green blazer/ black pencil skirt combo for under $100. I think my first day will be one of the sheath dresses (belted/sleeveless/black and white pattern, but not busy) with a black 3/4 sleeve cardigan. I think I’ll be on the dressier side than the other ladies in the office, but not too much. My black pumps are 2 inches high, but I may switch to something a little lower to tone it down a bit.

    Just wanted to pop on and say thanks to the ladies here. It seems to be a very supportive and informative group.


  17. If you choose pants (which might be wise, as Anon suggests), I would avoid khakis, especially since they’d be a new purchase for you. I think that khakis are a men’s staple that just don’t adapt stylishly on most women. They are a good utilitarian option for other reasons, but since you don’t need them for any particular use, why not some capris or ankle-length cigar/ette pants (to borrow someone’s usage), or jeans?

  18. how I got my love back :

    Lots of scams here and there, I thought only prayers could bring my man back but it didnt work,then I tried begging, it also didnt work, I even tried spells myself, it didnt work,until I saw something about a female spell caster, I tried her, maybe because she was a female like me ,so she would feel my pain..

    Anyways, she had no site, nothing to show, but I just followed my heart and thanks to God that I did that because,IT WORKED.

    ALL SHE HAD WAS A EMAIL ADDRESS priestessmiriam @ gmail. . com ..… all I can say is, the spell worked,my man came back…I am happy.. This is mine creamiegabriella @ gmail. com

  19. Stephanie :

    I love the dresses from this designer but actually think the dresses run a little small. I am a 6 in AT, BR, etc. but had to get an 8 in this designer. I do have a larger bustline (36 D) and that may be the reason I had to go up a size. However, when I do go up a size, the hip area is a little big. Nonetheless, I can just have a tailor take the dress in. Love the classic designs.