Tuesday’s TPS Report: Accordion dress in Super 120s

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

Accordion dress in Super 120sThis dress intrigues me. I like the accordion pleats, as well as the high, U-shaped neckline trimmed in silk, and I like the fact that it’s made of J.Crew’s suiting wool — the whole effect takes what might be a schoolgirl-ish skirt and turns it into an interesting dress. To avoid the schoolgirl look, though, I would probably stick to black tights — perhaps even tall boots, if those are acceptable at your office. On top, I’d keep it simple with a tight-fitting silk cardigan, perhaps with an interesting belt over the entire ensemble. Readers, how would you wear it? It’s $225 at J.Crew (available in dark heather gray, pictured, and a much lighter “warm buff”). Accordion dress in Super 120s

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  1. I loved this dress too! I am curious if the pleats in the back would look bad once you sat down though. I sit at my desk most of the day and I can only imagine how messy those pleats in the back might look.

    • Oooh, that’s a very good point. I’ve seen tiered skirts get quite messy in the back over the course of a day.

    • skippy pea :

      Yes, love this dress! If only I could pull it off!

      Agree also on wierdness with back pleats.

    • Yeah, I have a wool coat with back pleats, and they sometimes end up looking a bit smushed if I’ve been sitting on them. I imagine it would be worse for a suit-weight material.

  2. Love!
    Might be too short on some, but on me at barely 5’4, I think it would be fine.
    Nice change of pace from the regular old work dress!

    • Yeah, it would be scandalously short on me (J. Crew usually is too short and too….curvaceous….on me), but I will admire it from afar. Love Kat’s styling suggestion, as well.

  3. It’s a lovely dress. I have a black knee length silk skirt with accordian pleats that I love… on the hanger. I’ve yet to actually wear it because I feel like no matter what it ends up looking schoolgirly. And I just can’t convince myself that it does my hips any favors. Sigh.

    On another note- in the “creative use of office supplies” dept., today I noticed one single short gray hair sticking straight out of the top of my head. My hair is dark and I’m wearing it in a low ponytail, so this little bastard was really noticeable. I didn’t have tweezers on me, and I could not for the life of me get a hold of it to pluck. Enter the small binder clip! Worked like a charm.

    • That’s hilarious! I don’t know why but I thought that you were going to say that you used a sharpie to color the gray hair. But good to know that binder clips came to the rescue!

    • skippy pea :

      OMG. That is hilarious and sounds painful! Glad it was only one stray gray hair!

    • Binder clips are so useful!

      Ah, for the days when gray hairs were few enough they could be plucked out. If I did that now, I’d be bald.

  4. AnonInfinity :

    This and the jacket you posted yesterday are two of my favorite things I’ve seen on this site in a while!

  5. Gorgeous.

  6. I like this (if indeed the pleats lie flat). I wish J crew’s dresses came in tall – they are too short for me for work otherwise.

    • I’m kind of surprised they don’t, actually. J.Crew is usually pretty good about offering tall sizes (i.e. they understand that long-legged women usually own pants that aren’t denim and want those pants to be long enough, too). You’d think they would at least offer their basic dresses in tall.

  7. I love this dress! I agree about the concern with sitting down for an extended period and wrinkling, but if it’s made of J. Crew’s suiting material, I think it be ok.

    For evening, I think a larger, sparkly belt would be great as well!

  8. Limited dress :

    Speaking of cute dresses, has anyone tried this on or seen it in the store? If so, how is the quality? I never shop at The Limited anymore, but this dress looks lovely. I wish they included measurements about how long it is though.


    • Oo, I think that is such a cute dress!

      I read through the reviews on the site, and several mention the length: “I am 5’6 and the dress hits right above the knee.” Another said, “I am 5’10 and I am either a 4 or 6 in Limited dresses depending on the cut. This dress fit me in a four and looks great. Hits about two/three inches above the knee.”

      The reviews are kind of all over the map about the sizing, though. One said she was busty and it fit great, others said it seemed clearly designed for the pear-shaped body.

      At $54, it seems like a good enough deal to order and try it on. Let us know how it fits for you!

      • Limited dress :

        Thanks Louise! I did read those reviews, but I was curious if any Corporetters had actually seen this dress. I’ll probably just go ahead and buy it.

        • Anon in Ny :

          Super cute – I just ordered the raspberry color, thanks for the recommendation.

    • I have two previous iterations of Limited cotton shirtdresses–a size 4 and a size 6. I’m about 5’8″, and they hit me just above the knee. I like them both, particularly my purple one. The fabric often needs just a little touch-up with an iron after washing, but it’s not terribly high-maintenance. They are wonderful for spring!

      • Limited dress :

        That’s very helpful Midori – thanks!

      • Like Midori, I have a previous year’s version – teal with a plain button-front. Love it. If the fabric is in fact the same (which from the picture it appears to be) it can get a bit wrinkly. But I love it just the same. It might be a bit light-weight for this time of year (depending on where you are of course, for me here in central FL it’s not too bad), though it could be made a bit more season-appropriate with tights or dark hose.

  9. Shoe help?
    I’m looking for shoes like this, only 1/10th the price (or maybe 1/5th). Has anyone seen any similar pairs recently? I found one on Piperlime but was sold out in my size.

    • surrounded by lawyers :

      Go to J. Crew and search for “quorra” or “quora.” They have a similar texture and come in Oxford or peep-toe stilleto. Not cheap by any means, but easier on the wallet, if you like them.

    • I was hoping you were coveting the same ridiculous pair of $1200 shoes as me — http://www.neimanmarcus.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml?itemId=prod115510055&parentId=cat13410734&masterId=cat13030734&index=18&cmCat=cat000000cat000141cat13030734cat13410734 — so I would feel more validated. :)

      For what you are looking for, ook at endless.com under Ankle-height boots — there are a few similar options, like the Enzo Angiolini Subra ($110) and the Restricted Bentley Peep Toe ($90) that might work for you.

      • Ooh, or the Vince Camuto Norda (super similar and $130). Okay, I really need to stop shoe shopping and get back to work …

      • Wow. Utterly ridiculous, utterly gorgeous. I covet, too.

      • Ballerina girl :

        Ooh love them. I feel like those are the type of shoes you think you’ll wear all the time when you’re daydreaming in middle school. No less amazing!

      • Those. Are. Awesome.

      • Right? I mean, they look like something my Barbie would have worn — in an awesome way. I can’t stop thinking about them. I’ve never before looked at something so expensive and thought “Maybe it’s worth it.” Fortunately (I guess?), don’t have the money so, worth it or not, won’t be in my closet.

      • Wow, I usually dislike sparkle on shoes and don’t even have any sequined clothes, but those shoes are totally mesmorizing. Want.

      • what’s really frightening is the fairly limited sizes left. at full price! who are these ppl?

      • If I had @Bridget’s fantasy shoes, I would just sit in my desk chair and admire my feet all day….

      • I’m pretty sure Michael’s craft store sells those little pave crystals. $5 worth, a glue gun and a pair of peep toes already in your closet could be the ticket to a fantasy fulfilled! :-)

        • These do not compare to the original, but here is a cheap alternative:

    • Try these for about $40. http://www.6pm.com/carlos-by-carlos-santana-trawl-camel

      • Just a random shout out: I bought 2 pairs of Carlos by CS shoes & both turned out to be very good quality, wore very well, & were incredibly comfortable (and very high heels). I wore them both to death.

  10. Alias Terry :

    Threadjack PSA:

    For those of you asking about non-leather shoes, Lifestride is having a 15% off sale and have several very business-like styles that are all man-made.


    • I bought some ankle boots 2 weeks ago and have been wearing them a lot. I thought they were Naturalizer, but found out the brand is called Life Stride. Very comfortable for my daily commute.
      the boot is called Usher:

  11. I really like this dress a lot, but I have pretty much had to give up shopping at J. Crew. I have decided to stop buying things made in China — for many reasons, including the human rights violations, the lack of free speech, our trade deficit, which makes me very uncomfortable, etc. Pretty much every single piece of J. Crew’s clothing is made in China, though. It’s pretty frustrating to me actually, since they charge so much. I get that Walmart has to produce things in China because it is cheap and they are going for mass production, but $300 for a dress made in China? Where the workers make such extremely low wages and cannot unionize? No thank you.

    • I love the dress though, Kat, and don’t want to be a nit picker! But if anyone wants to join me in a boycott and email campaign, I would appreciate the support!

      By the way, I will buy clothes made in any other country — Indonesia, Taiwan, etc. Although I tried at first only to buy things made in the U.S., I would most certainly be broke if I had stuck to that one.

      • @Anon: I saw a “made in the USA” label for my 3 Dots cotton/spandex t-shirts (yes Forever21 is 1/2 the price, made in China). Also, Johnston & Murphy shoes are made in the USA (yay!). So is my recent Theory jacket! (I was *really* surprised to see that). I’m going to keep scoping the labels more carefully for made in the USA. Aside: I understand that J. Crew sources fabric from Italy and sends it to China for manufacturing (phhhtttt).

        • American Apparel, perhaps obviously, also makes all their stuff in the US. I get a lot of basic tees there & Rue La La, etc., often has the brand on super sale.

          I remember when Juicy only made great tee shirts & hoodies, nothing tacky & bedazzled, and all of their labels used to read, “made in the glamourous USA. . . . ” Oh, well.

          • surrounded by lawyers :

            Yes–I just noticed that the tag now says “BORN in the glamorous USA,” and a small one attached on the side says “made in China.” Subtle.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            American Apparel is also the subject of multiple sexual harassment lawsuits, allegedly has a hostile and racist work environment, and is headed by a man who purportedly requires that the models have sex with him, not to mention all sorts of financial filing improprieties. (See http://jezebel.com/#!americanappalling ) Is all of that alleviated because the clothes are made in the US? We all have different causes/standards that are important to us, but for me, I can’t shop at American Apparel due to its appalling treatment of women.

          • This is the original Anon, and I don’t shop at American Apparel for that very reason. Gosh, my principles are always getting in the way!

          • I know all about the AA issues. You are absolutely right that we all have to chose our issues. It just goes to show you that all decisions have consequences. Some are visible, and, sadly, most are given no consideration and/or have no [easily accessible] information available to use as a guide.

      • Obviously outside most every day price ranges, but Hugo Boss was going to outsource and close down its U.S. operations, but then changed their minds (due to union and other pressures) and kept their American operations open, paying workers decent wages and keeping much-needed jobs rather than laying off hundreds of people in a down economy.

      • Here is a site that lists only Made in the USA clothing. http://www.americansworking.com/clothingwomens.html

      • YouLookFab just did an interview with Karen Kane where she talked about moving more of their production back to the U.S. (they are 80% U.S. 20% China at the moment): http://youlookfab.com/2011/02/14/interview-with-karen-kane/ That might be another label to look into. I wonder if other designers feel the same way–maybe we’ll see a shift back over the next several years?

        • Another interesting shift that is starting to happen, and that I believe will develop further, is that China’s labor conditions are/will be improving.

          In fact, because of this and the resulting higher costs, some companies are already leaving China and looking for cheaper places to do business.

          There are a lot of moral issues involved in our obsession with cheap, disposable fashion. If anyone really cares about this issue, boycotting China may be a first step, but it’s hardly the whole solution.

      • Interesting discussion. Just as an aside, I’m a regular Wal-Mart shopper (not for clothing, although I get a few “essential basics” like socks and hose there regularly, more for household items and groceries). Anyway, a few months ago, I got curious and decided to start checking the origin of things I routinely buy there, and I was really surprised. The only thing I found that was Chinese was a set of bobby pins I bought several years ago (I had kept them in the original package). Several things were from Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, etc., but I was actually surprised at how much indicated it was from the U.S.

        I’m sure it depends on what you’re buying, but I thought that it was interesting.

    • Done considerable research :

      Anon has other objections besides perceived quality, but just on the quality issue, I’ve had to do some of this research for work: One of the main reasons that China is a major source of clothes manufacturing is that they are one of the higher (often highest) quality options amongst the developing countries (i.e. cheaper). The infrastructure for transporting materials; the skill level of the workers and the quality control is amongst the highest across most various clothes categories (e.g. beading work; knits; etc.) Obviously there are variations across different facilities. BTW, as one commenter pointed out yesterday, clothes prices are projected to increase 10% this year – partly due to cotton prices, but also partly due to increased competitiveness of getting capacity in manufacturing facilities, particularly in China.

    • Anonymous :

      J Crew has some jeans that are made in USA.

      I agree with you – I hate buying things from China. I think manufacturers make too many clothes period – so many options in so many colors. Make less and make it better quality!

    • Wholeheartedly agree w/you and to Jay, thank you for the website. I will use as reference. If I can afford to purchase something NOT made there, I should do so. That would be great if we could get a sort of butterfly effect going here – envisioning the end of apartheid in South Africa, breakup of the Soviet Union – but anyway, to ironically quote a Chinese proverb, “the journey of a thousand miles…”

    • Have you checked out Fair Indigo’s website? All of their clothes are either made in USA at family-owned factories, or are made in fair-trade factories abroad. they tell you exactly where things are made, highlight workers who work in the factories, etc. Great for cute basics and surprisingly affordable.

  12. Found these Kate Spade loafers on deep sale… love them, still trying to figure out whether I should buy!


    • Very cute. I like them in the nude color.

    • I like them in either color. They seem like the kinda shoe you can fall back on when your feet refuse to cooperate with heels.

    • I like loafers on others, especially when worn in unexpected ways, but on me they equal frump city. I have tried on dozens of pairs and, each time, I look down and just cringe! Such a shame.

      • i think the frump is part of the charm! i like wearing loafers to tone down dresses or skirts that might seem a little too vavavoom otherwise.

        • I totally agree, but on me the “frump” just overtakes! I could wear a tutu & if I put on loafers I turn into a school librarian. But I do love them on others!

    • Um…beautiful and what a deal. Too bad I’ve already maxed out my clothes and shoes allowance for the month!

  13. Hey gals, I got the Tahari cream & black suit finally today (yay!) . http://bit.ly/f1RlGj

    Thanks to the Corporette who returned her size 6, which I promptly snatched up (although now there’s another 6 available, if anyone’s looking). It’s as gorgeous and sumptuous as it appears on the picture. It’s sized generously and is somewhat loose on me. I’d take a size 4 to get the fitted, fashionista-y look of the model. But eh, I’m a lawyer, not a model, so I’ll roll with less booty & hip action for la officina. It’s rare that I *ever* spend 5oo bones on a suit, but this one, I think is worth it. Thanks, Kat!

  14. Valleygirl :

    FYI: Amazon has Invicta watches on sale – I just got a $495 watch for $69 with free two day shipping :)

  15. Threadjack:

    Any advice for gracefully withdrawing from an application process? Company B contacted me today and indicated that they’re interested in continuing the process and asked for further materials. However, since my last interaction with B, I have accepted a position with Company A. My position at A will require me to work with B, and I may wish to work for B at a later point in my career, so I want to be sure not to step on any toes.

    (I realize I’m way overthinking this, but it’s early in my career, and I’d like to make the best possible impression on all parties.) Thanks in advance!

    • Respond back to whoever contacted you at company B with something like:

      “Since we last spoke, I have accepted an offer of employment at another company. I appreciate the time your group has spent reviewing my candidacy / interviewing me / whatever. I enjoyed meeting you / continue to admire your organization and hope our paths cross again in the future.”

      Not perfect, but something like that should suffice. A similar message to any other individuals involved with your process who you thought were especially helpful or who you’re most likely to interact with in the future could also be appropriate. While I’m not too senior, I have received such a communication from a candidate and thought it was thoughtful and appropriate.

    • I’d say something along the lines of, “Thank you for your consideration. Since we last spoke [X months ago], I accepted a position at Company A. Thank you for your time.”

      Obviously polish it up a little, but I do think you’re overthinking it!

  16. Has everyone had wool suiting shrink at the dry cleaners? I didn’t think that could happen, but I brought my favorite black wool BR pencil skirt in last week to be cleaned and am wearing it today for the first time. It is so snug! I’m walking around the office feeling like Jessica Rabbit (and internally cringing).

    Now I may have to go buy a replacement, since I love this skirt (and have the matching blazer). So begins the hunt for a BR 40% off code…

    • I have sometimes noticed this with pants but they always loosed up by the 2nd wear at latest. It’s sort of similar to the jeans effect, post dryer.
      I think this happens more with wool with a bit of stretch (i.e., 1-3 % lycra).

    • surrounded by lawyers :

      I had a pair of wool dress pants that did the opposite at the cleaners: they stretched out, way beyond fitting me. My first move was to bring them back to the cleaners and complain, but that got me nowhere. So then I brought them into the store–with slim hopes. I was basically looking for advice as to how I might be able to re-shape them. Surprisingly, the manager said “that shouldn’t have happened” and gave me a refund for the pants’ current price. This was at Ann Taylor, but you might at least try at BR…

    • I feel you, K. I hope BR is still carrying the same skirt and hasn’t demoted it in quality so you can truly replace it.

      I took my wool coat to a new dry cleaner about 6 weeks ago. It came back snugger and with shorter sleeves. No question it shrunk. So, yes, I guess it can happen. Who knew? I am trying to embrace this as an excuse to shop for a new coat during the spring sales. But I liked my old one so much!

      • Just checked the BR website and they have a very similar one that will match my blazer. It’s not quite the exact same skirt, but it will have to do (bought this current one almost 1.5 years ago). Glad to know I’m not the only victim of dry cleaner shrinkage.

        For a minute, I panicked and thought I must have packed on a few pounds for it to fit this tightly, but I have the same skirt in gray in the same size, and the gray one still fits perfectly! So irritating.

      • Hmmm, I recently dropped some weight and now my wool coat is too big. I should take it to the cleaners so I won’t have to go hunting for a smaller coat.

    • I recommend finding carbon dioxide-based dry cleaners. No heat, no shrinkage, and it’s less harmful for the environment. http://bit.ly/ihKGoC

      My clothes are aleways in great shape when I get them back.

    • Yes. I had a pair of my pants shrink, though it seems to be only in length, I think. It’s obvious, too, because the outer wool portion has shrunk, but the lining is still the same length and much, much closer to the length of the outer hem, if that makes sense. It’s very annoying. Interestingly, the pants are wool BR pants. Maybe it’s something with BR…

  17. I love J Crew wool suits- nearly only thing I travel with since they don’t wrinkle- but this style screams disaster after first wear. The pleats after being sat on would be a mess and even the best dry cleaner might have trouble. Also not professional looking enough for my work. But cute!

  18. funny, like the poster who says she has a lovely pleated skirt she’s never worn cause can’t find the right way to do it- so do I! Bought in Shanghai several years ago. So cute. So makes me look like a 10 yr old.

    on the ‘social justice’ aspects… this is my background… was an activist, now a lawyer… it is really complicated. easiest way to avoid is not creating demand- second-hand, re-tailor, use stuff a long time (take care of it). Beyond that, the companies in Asia etc. ARE creating jobs and there’s a wide range of practices. Many left Central America due to rising standards, which hurt people there economically. China’s standards have greatly increased along the coast due to worker protests; some companies moved west towards Mongolia for more lax practices. Anyway. Wal Mart is actually doing amazing things these days- it has initiated supplier standards that are quite high, and because of its market share has power to have an impact beyond anyone else- and it is happening. I have to admit that. Not that it’s perfect. Anyway- just saying no Asia/China, certain company, etc. rarely results in a sound line of reasoning that lines up to facts. Labels certifying good origins would be great, but this has never been successful enough in this area. (Tried to negotiate them at the White House under Clinton… couldn’t get Nike and activists to agree enough, such that competing standards grew and competed and neither succeeded.)

    Something wild I heard today at work, working on these very issues: China’s been buying up land in Africa, but shipping in its own workers to mine/farm etc then sending it all home… sounds horrible to the Africans… but I guess is good for Chinese workers maybe. Crazy world. And similar to what other countries did in the past.

    Anyway! It’s an important thing, but hard to know what’s best to do. You really can’t on a piece of specific apparel for the most part. Organic cotton for eg is good because at least you know the workers and earth didn’t have chemicals applied (or the garment touching your skin). Beyond that, limiting demand and reading the newspaper are the best strategies in my view.

  19. I had a pink dress with this kind of pleating many years ago and it cost a fortune to dry clean (and needed frequent cleaning since it was so light). Ever since then, I’ve sworn off the accordion pleat. Might have to rethink that policy.

  20. Alias Terry :

    Am I the only one who gets a 50’s cocktail dress vibe from this?