Tuesday’s TPS Report: Boardroom Dress in Superfine Cotton

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

J.Crew has a ton of cute dresses out right now, including this lovely “boardroom dress,” available in coral and navy. I like the banded waist, the fold details, and the high neckline. It’s $158 at J.Crew (all sizes still left, as far as I can tell).  Boardroom dress in superfine cotton

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



  1. bibliophile :

    Wow, that color is beautiful. That little pooch of fabric in the front makes this iffy though. Would definitely need to try it on before taking the plunge.

    • The seem across the boob on one side is kind of odd too.

      • bibliophile :

        Ha, didn’t even notice that till you pointed it out. I suppose it adds visual interest but it is a little different.

      • It’s not a seam. It appears to be an asymmetrical pleat, or even a fold. They mentioned that the fabric was is “siro spun,” which is described as a high-end Japanese suiting process, so they may have been going for a mild Japanese designer or design school (Bunka) reference.

        You have good eyes.

        For whatever it’s worth, I’m trying to learn to sew and I often clip images of clothing I like to Evernote. I clipped this image a week ago for inspiration. I always include the information about the fabric and the construction details because they’re vitally important.

    • I like the pooch b/c it hides my pooch!

      • Yes, for gals like us with a little extra weight at the waist, having this extra room helps accommodate a tummy.

        The color is simply beautiful! Coral can work for virtually every body since it’s slightly muted.

  2. Anonymous :

    I like this dress, but I recommend trying it on (or getting free shipping). I’m only 5-8 but this dress hit me several inches above my knee and was mid-thigh when I sat down. Back it went. JCrew, if you are listening, tall sizes for dresses, please!!

    • Diana Barry :

      Ditto, see below on my experience ordering dresses.

    • Agree that all sizes would be great. They have them for pants and jackets, I don’t know why they won’t add them for skirts and dresses. All of their dresses are listed as “falls above the knee.” Considering I have to wear a 0 or 2, despite being 5’8″, because of vanity sizing (amen to the poster below), this really means “falls at mid-thigh and rides up from there, perfect for that sexy secretary costume!”

    • Co-signed! They have so many dresses I’d consider for the office, but the waistline always hits me mid-ribcage. Grr.

      • Also co-signed: I own this dress, but it’s much shorter than I normally prefer and I’m only 5’5”. And while it looks like it has a high neckline, it’s quite low on me – I considered wearing a tank under it as you can see more of my cleavage than I normally prefer (when I bend over, anyway). I’m super conservative, but everytime I take this out of my closet I wonder why I didn’t just return it.

  3. Anyone know how this fits in the hips? Usually I can’t wear J Crew pants because they’re cut for boy figures, but this looks like it flares out decently for us hourglass-shaped girls.

  4. BarStudying 3L :

    Hello, LawyerLadies! Any tips for making Barbri more manageable/ managing my time? So far, I’m slacking but I really want to ‘do it once, do it right, never do it again’! Thanks so much.

    • Honestly, my best advice is to treat it like a 9-5 job. If you try to study 12 hours a day until the exam you’re likely to burn out and go completely nuts. Also, I don’t know anyone who managed to keep up with BarBri’s schedule – they make it entirely ridiculous.

      I do think it’s important to think about what study methods have worked for you in the past and then use them here too. The way you’ve learned for previous tests is the same way you’ll learn for the bar; it’s not different in that respect!

      • I definitely agree about using study habits that have worked in the past. At first I was just reading the outlines (note- I did another system, not Bar-Bri), and it really wasn’t working for me. Once I started making my own outlines from their outlines, which had been my main way of preparing for exams in law school, I started to *get* the material a little bit better. I know that it sounds like a stupid amount of extra work, but something abour re-processing the material always helps it sink in for me.

        • Me too! I prepped their outline, did my own outline, and then created flashcards. All that extra work, but it really helped the concepts sink in.

      • another anon :

        Agreed that the BarBri schedule is ridiculous. I remember being freaked out at first that I wasn’t keeping up with all of the multiple choice and essays they suggested you do, until I added up the time it would actually take you to do all of them and realized that it was simply not humanly possible to keep up with their schedule.

        Study like you have for your past tests, and be sure to keep up with the shorter outline and do practice questions/essays, but don’t worry if you are not 100% keeping up with everything they tell you to do. And be sure to do the graded essays–those were helpful.

    • Follow the schedule exactly. Do what you are supposed to do on that day every day. If you don’t, you will get behind. Catching up is darn hard. It means giving up a lot of things you do for fun. But the only thing worse than studying for the bar is studying for it again. Suck it up for another month and half and get it over with once.

      • Yeah, but skip the big book except for subjects where you really dont get it. Its a totally useless waste of time (Ive taken 2 bars, 4 years apart and felt the same way both times). Do go to all the classes (or listen if you are doing the ipod) and do the other reading/practice as their schedule suggests. But make sure you build time in every day for other things you like to do (workout or whatever) and try different, but scheduled, study methods. For example, I went to a coffee shop where I could sit outside and enjoy the weather after class and lunch every day. Then I would study at home or the library later that evening.

    • Anyone else trying to work while they study for the bar? I’m watching the lectures every day, but I’m lucky if I get an hour of studying done a day outside the lecture. I’m working at two 5-10 hr a week jobs, which I didn’t think would be too bad, but now they’re taking over my life.

      • Is there any way you can scale back/take a leave of absence from one of them (or both)? I honestly don’t think one hour a day is enough.

        • I agree that 1 hour/day is not enough. I also think you need to cut both those jobs by July 1. FWIW, I worked 15 hours per week through late June the summer I took the bar and still ended up having enough time to study. It was stressful though.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        What state? Do you have to work both jobs? Can you take out a loan? Frankly, I can’t imagine being able to pass the CA bar studying only an hour a day outside the lectures. Keeping to that schedule in June is risky, but to continue on it in July will make passage very, very difficult. Studying for the bar is a full time job in and of itself.

        • Does anyone have any words of wisdom for CA bar takers, in particular? I am working through June — I started a bit ahead of schedule, and have been able to get a fair bit done, but I definitely will not be able to do everything Barbri suggests (my goal for June is to finish all lectures, outline two essays from each subject, and do a couple of multiple-choice sets for each subject). Any thoughts on whether this is likely to be totally insufficient? For what it’s worth, this is my second bar — I took another (easier) state fairly recently, and a lot of the multistate stuff is familiar.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            The CA bar (with its 60% passage rate) is no joke, but if you are able to 100% focus on BarBri in July and put in solid 10-12 hour days 6+ days a week, you should pass the CA bar even if you’re working in June. However, I think the “outline two essays from every subject” is totally insufficient – two essays is not enough, and outlining is not the same as actually doing the essays. Outlining is pretty easy if you kinda sorta know the subject, but actually writing the essays is a lot harder.

            I also think “a couple multiple choice sets for each subject” won’t cut it, even though you’ve taken a bar fairly recently. The questions won’t be organized by subject on the actual bar, of course. And remember that since the CA bar is 3 days, an important part of your prep is endurance. There are the 3 essays and then 1 performance test the first day, then the day of MBE, when you are already mentally tired. And then of course day 3, a repeat of day 1.

            You also didn’t mention the performance tests. Those are unlike anything I ever had at my CA school, so IMO you really can’t skimp on prep. There’s no substitute for actually sitting there for 3 hours and doing a performance test. In the same vein, the BarBri full practice exam (3 days, all day) is really helpful, so don’t miss it.

          • I took the CA bar last July and passed on the first try. I studied in Boston where I went to law school, but I quickly stopped going to actual class because all the lectures were online. I treated it like a job. I’d roll at out of bed at 7 AM and start watching the 3+ hour lecture, then I’d spend the rest of my time doing practice essays and practice MBEs. I’d call it a day around 6 or 7 and just take it easy the rest of the night.
            I echo what other people have said about studying the way you studied in law school. I found flashcards to be a complete waste of time. Creating outlines from outlines or my lecture notes was much better and I actually digested the material.
            If you’re taking Barbri, LISTEN TO YOUR LECTURERS. They do know what they’re talking about. For example, f they tell you that every community property essay should start the same way (and they do), DO THAT. The graders actually do look for those sentences.
            The best advice I got for the CA Bar was to do every practice essay available to you – and I mean actually sit for an hour and do the essay, not just outline. The last two weeks before the bar (after BarBri classes were over), I did about six essays a day and I did MBE questions as a study break. Based on how the essays are weighted in CA, this just makes sense. Far too many people focus too much on the MBE. Lastly, if you struggle with the performance exams, practice them. The PEs came naturally to me so I didn’t focus on them as much, but I definitely had friends who struggled with reading all the material, organizing and writing the essay in three hours.
            Also, be brutally honest with yourself while you study. This is not the time to let pride get in your way. We all know you’re smart but if you’re really not getting the Rule Against Perpetuity or hearsay or California Civil Procedure, recognize it and study it. That’s the only way you’re going to learn.
            Oh and I would not study in complete silence. The bar exam rooms are not silent (unless you bring earplugs). Background sounds abound – people typing, proctors shuffling about, people getting up to take a break, etc. If you’re used to studying in silence, I would start using a white noise machine or going somewhere more populated so you get use to some noise.
            Lastly, scout your bar exam location the day before. I took it at the Oakland Convention Center and I went with a friend to see the room and where the restrooms were located. We also walked around the area to see what restaurants were around if we didn’t bring food. It also allowed me to time how long it would take for me to get there since I was coming from Berkeley and not staying in a hotel.

          • Thanks ladies! I should qualify that my planned schedule above was for June only. I am not a total slacker! My intention is to do the balance of the studying (writing out in full a couple of essays a day, doing the rest of the multiple choice sets and practice essays, getting the PT down) in July.

        • Colorado, so it’s all multistate (MBE, Multistate Practice Test, Multistate Essay) and has a fairly high passage rate. One of the jobs is going to be done in 2 weeks, and the other one I can scale back considerably in July, so I’m mostly wondering if it’s going to kill me to keep doing this for the next two weeks. I could quit either job, but I’d burn a lot of bridges doing so, so I’d rather not unless absolutely necessary.

      • I’m working, and it’s been very difficult. I have been waking up earlier to watch the lectures online (8-11 online instead of 9-12 in person) and I have had to either (a) finish everything I want to get done that day BEFORE I go in to the office, or (b) absolutely cut myself off from work at 5pm so I can use the evening to outline and do practice problems. It’s a very tough schedule, but in a way, it’s helpful because it forces me to do the work on time. If I get behind, I know I’ll really struggle to catch up!!

        You’re not alone! We can do it!!

      • I’m working full-time, and then watching the lectures in the evenings/before work, with catch-up as my first scheduling priority on the weekends. I physically go to class only when necessary, i.e. for turning in essays, because I am relatively self motivated and would rather watch them sped-up at home with my cat (see Above the Law for advice on speeding up the online lectures). Ask someone who did BarBri in your state recently how much of the outside-class work they feel is necessary to do–I have a trustworthy a friend who told me that for Massachusetts, all she did in June was go to lecture, and she passed no problem. So I do the lectures, and so far I also do the assigned MBE questions and essays, but I don’t do the assigned reading (the intro video actually said this should be the first thing to jettison!) and I don’t summarize my notes. In law school, I always saved outlining for the end of the semester, so I figure I’ll do the same here. Plus, my clerkship ends July 1, so I do plan to double or triple the 4 hours a day I’m spending now for the last few weeks of studying. But maybe that plan only works for “Passachusetts” . . .

        • I took and passed the Mass Bar, but I did not think it was easy. Perhaps it was graded easy, but the questions were far harder/more issues than NY (which I also took).

        • The above the law post was specifically about how you can’t speed up the lectures anymore. Please post if you figured out how to speed them up

      • I worked full time as an in-house paralegal while studying for the MA bar. I worked 8:30 – 5 every day (it was a busy time, too) then left work and went to review class. This was several years ago so my only option was to watch a recording of that day’s session in a classroom with others at Suffolk until 9:30 each night. I forced myself to focus by taking notes *the whole time* no matter what. I studied a bit on weekends, but not hardcore. I took 2 weeks off for the exam (including the exam days (which were Wednesday and Thursday)). During that period I studied 24/7. I slept odd hours, ate at unusual times, whatever it took. I only studied for the multistate during that time; the night before the state-specific portion of the exam I shifted to state items but had to balance that with getting some sleep.

        I don’t recommend this approach for everyone, but it worked for me. It helped to keep in mind that it was ok if I got questions wrong as I only needed to get a passing score (took some pressure off).

        Good luck!

      • Take a leave of absence if at all possible, otherwise you are really risking failing it. One hour a day in addition to the lectures is NOT enough to pass- at least in FL. There is a guy in my office that graduated a year before me at the top of his class and he is about to take the exam for the FIFTH time. He worked full-time while studying every time he’s taken it. The amount of money you will be out from not working for a few months more than makes up for it when you pass the FIRST time. Sorry to be a downer. Good luck!

    • I found that the best thing for me to do was to treat it like a job (on average, like a 12-hour day). Wake up, either go to class (which I recommend for the beginning of studying because it forces you to focus), or listen to the lecture online. Follow along, do the fill-in-the-blank style notes, and then type up an outline. Read the outline on a regular basis (I was not as good at this). Stay on top of the homework (MBE practice questions and essays) as best as you can, and once you start getting the hang of things, definitely start using time constraints.

    • I am going to be the dissenter here, it appears. I used to teach test prep, and if you have time to treat it like a job and take your evenings off and continue exercising and sleeping regularly, I think that is excellent advice. However, I worked full-time and went to evening BarBri classes. I read (from the big book) for as long as I could stay awake each night. And then I took off from work on the Thursday before the Tuesday exam and crammed for four days. I passed. (NOTE: I did not take NY, CA, or FL, which I know are more difficult exams.) This is not a prescribed method of studying for anyone, but just a different perspective to make you feel a bit better about whether you can still pass without following the onerous schedule provided by BarBri.

      • I agree. The bar exam is not fun, but it does NOT have to be to bad if you don’t let it.

      • This method will NOT work for the California bar exam. I definitely recommend making this your every day job–and I do mean every day, Sundays included, even if only for half the day. It’s also necessary to workout and have some non-law time, but you simply cannot just wait until the last minute to cram on this exam. In my experience, it would take you at least two weeks just to CREATE the outlines for every California and multistate subject, not including the time to actually study them! So start the outlining early, get into a routine, and don’t think you can cram like you’re in law school or undergrad.

        • I always thought the low passage rate in California was due to the number of non accredited law schools, not the overall relative dificulty of the exam.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            True, 60% is the average passing rate. For top tier schools, it’s in the upper 70s to upper 80s, and for lower tier/nonaccredited schools, I think it’s in the 40s. That stats are all on US News. I passed because I regarded bar study as my 50++ hour per week job from day 1 of BarBri – probably overkill, but by how much, who knows. I went to a top school and had smart friends with a better class rank than I who still failed the CA bar. Every year, there’s always a few first years at my big firm who fail as well. The sheer volume of material (example: Fed Civ Pro and Cal Civ Pro, Fed Evidence and Cal Evidence) and the 24 hours of testing can leave even the most brilliant and dedicated short of the scores needed to pass.

    • Several people at work suggested doing the minimum until the 4th of July, and then really kicking into high gear, so that’s what I did – remember, the point is to pass, not get the highest score.

      Before the 4th of July, I read the outline before class, attended class and paid attention (very important; leave the laptop at home) and did a few multiple choice questions after the lecture (or the essays, if they were going to be graded and returned). I spent 1.5-2 hours per day outside of class, max. I worked throughout this time. And yes, I bombed the graded practice test, which gave me exactly the fear I needed to pick up the slack later in the summer.

      After the 4th of July, I made flash cards for every subject, did as many multiple choice questions as I could stomach, and did 1-2 essays a day. I swapped essays with friends so we could “grade” each other. I participated in study groups focused on a particular subject. I reviewed my class notes and the outlines. I attended classes, paid attention, and spent 4-5 hours a day outside of class studying.

      I passed the first time, and actually did pretty well (which was not my goal). Caveat: I did not take one of the “difficult” bar exams.

      • This. Exactly what I did. I used the three and a half weeks after the Fourth to really, really study. It was all-consuming. But, I could not have done that intensity for the entire study time. I went to all the classes, took handwritten notes, and did a few practice multiple choice. But, I did little else until the 4th. Then, I crammed like a maniac. It worked for me. I also made sure I exercised everyday (before the intense period) and enjoyed life.

      • This is what I did. I’m in Texas where we have the MBE, a day of state-specific essays, and a half-day of state-specific procedure. I went to class every day in June, filled in the outline, and paid attention. (Sometimes I would review the mini-outlines the day before class; sometimes I wouldn’t. ) When I got home from class, I would review the outline that I created by filling in the blanks. I spent an hour or so a day outside of class studying. Did the one practice MBE and bombed it.

        After July 4th, I cranked it up. I followed Bar-Bri’s three-part schedule for each day to a T. I did practice essays and practice MBEs. I bought poster-sized Post-its and made giant posters of procedure timelines and elements and hung them all over my walls (this helped tremendously because you see them all.the.time). I passed the Texas bar with flying colors. It can be done.

      • This is basically what I did for NY. Also, I’m convinced Barbri grades the first couple of practice essays harder than they will actually be graded just to scare you.

        • Of course, this is basically how I functioned in law school, too (a little during the year, cram during the last month). Only you know how you learn. Just go with it. I was exceptionally good at memorizing (thank you, organic chemistry, for that), so I knew I *could* cram. But really, think about how you’ve studied thus far and modify it to take into account this has a lot more subjects, and go from there.

    • I was in the same boat.

      My advice: Go to every lecture. Take notes and then go home and turn them into outlines. That’s something I did every day, no blowing it off. I blew off a lot of the rest (i.e., never opened the big books, never did the essays except the ones to hand in, never did *all* the multi choice). Your crunch time deadline is July 1. You should study hard all of July. That’s an all day thing. But you can afford to take it a bit easier in June (but still go to class and do your outlines for later!) I think strting to do 8-10 hr. days in June is likely to hurt as much as help — many people who do that burn out by July.

      My other advice, in terms of the specifics of making it all actually manageable: Know your strengths, etc., but what worked for me was focusing on the 6 MBE subjects (if you know those really well, you will be hard pressed to fail b/c of essays) (plus wills, which is on every exam), doing as many of the “hard” multiple choice questions as you can (the PMBR ones are the best); and instead of doing the essays, I just outlined the model ones to get a feel for how they were supposed to be structured (but, I say, know your strengths — I am comfortable with my writing and BS ability, so I wasn’t worried about essays. Some people were more nervous and needed more time on that as a result).

      Good luck!

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      Let me start by qualifying my answer by saying that I sat for the Louisiana bar which is about 80% essay with no MBE component.

      I made sure to treat it as a job and maintained some semblance of a social life, at least at first…. I also attended all the lectures and didn’t play on the internet. I was also really lucky and inherited typed out versions of my BarBri outlines; it made note taking and personalizing my outlines a snap. I made about 3 or 4 versions of each outline, each shorter than the last, forcing myself to pare down to the bare essentials. But the most important thing I did was take practice exams. A LOT OF THEM! I didn’t necessarily do them under timed conditions, but I made sure to work as many problems as possible.

      • This. It is also how I studied for the LSAT, lots and lots of problems. At some point, I think your brain just “clicks”.

    • Keep in mind that everyone learns differently. What may work for one person (rereading the outlines or outlining themselves) may not work for another person (who needs to do lots of practice questions to learn something instead of outlining). I have several friends who realized that they needed a lot more practical work than BarBri was providing and ended up switching over to that in late June instead of trying to somewhat religiously follow the schedule. If a study method doesn’t work for you, spending 10 hours a day doing that method is not going to help you learn more.

    • Honey Bear :

      BarStudying – I recommend doing the class online or with your ipod/iphone (that’s what I did). It saved me commuting time, and I was also able to speed up the lecture by 1.5 times, which saved time too.

      • I second speeding the lecture up. I did it with the videos of the classes I missed and it was so much more efficient.

      • You can’t speed the videos up.

        • Is that a new thing? Because I did. I couldn’t do it on my Mac, but I could from my PC.

          • It is a new thing for this summer, I guess – ATL had a posting on it, with a possible (but not endorsed) work around.

      • You can totally speed up the lectures… find the ATL article from 2010 about… there is some CTRL + ALT + ??? shortcut that speeds the streaming video by like 20% or so.

        If you are really efficient, have your computer record the audio as the video streams in the “fast” mode… then put the audio file on an ipod or mp3 player and speed it up some more. I did this for most of the barbri lectures last year and cut 3hr lectures down to 1.5-1.75 hours. And I passed the bar.

    • I didn’t take the FL, CA or NY exams, so if that’s what you are taking, then you may want to disregard my advice.

      I went to class every day, with the exception of a few, but never missed a video, and filled out the forms and took copious notes every day in June. I skimmed material after class during June and spent time giving swimming lessons and not stressing. Once the 4th of July was over (and I believe classes were about over at that point as well) I went to Panera every morning at eight and stayed there each night, outlining and re-watching videos of topics I wasn’t familiar with and doing sample essays, until I was worn out. Sometimes that was 6pm, other times it was 10 pm.

      Many of those days, I would break in the middle of the afternoon and meet up with friends to do multiple choice problems, or if I left at 6pm, then I would meet up with friends to do multiple choice in the evening. Often with a beer in hand.

      Two weeks before the exam, I made a fourteen day outline with the subjects I wanted to cover and the essays I wanted to practice. I rented a hotel room (my apartment lease was up and I had to move) and spent all day making flash cards from the outlines and doing sample essays. Writing things out as concisely as possible helped me to remember, plus, I felt like I was accomplishing something after I finished a subject. I made sure to get good rest each night and attempted to eat each day, though my appetite was nil. (Smoothies saved my life for two weeks.)

      I will say that I never once cracked the “big books” unless I needs serious clarification on a subject. It was too much information and I couldn’t absorb it all. Also, I studied mostly alone in law school, with the exception of one night of flash cards with friends for each exam. Don’t try to change your study habits – just study longer.

      • I think it’s all been said, but I’ll chime in. I was a CA bar taker and studied in a different city. I definitely second the “do what you did in law school” advice. For me, that was attending classes in person and taking my own notes, then creating an outline from my notes + the barbri handouts. I tried for the first few weeks of June to just fill in the blanks but realized that I wasn’t “getting” the material. For the first 4-5 weeks I attended class every day from 9-12, took a short lunch break, then studied from about 12:30/1:00 to 6:00 or so. On the weekends I did about 6 hours a day. Once July first hit, I ramped it up to 12 and then 14-16 hour days. I studied mostly at the library and a little bit at home- i knew from law school that I did my best studying in a library- go with what has worked for you in the past. Also, I would expect a little bit of anxiety (or a lot) especially the last weeks of July. I was really stressed, my appetite went away, and I had a couple of breakdowns where I cried in the library bathroom. Try to realize that this happens to almost everyone, and it doesn’t mean you won’t pass. Good luck!

      • Barbri sadly figured out how to stop you from speeding up the lectures online! so frustrating!!

    • Do What BarBri Tells You :

      I agree with EPLawyer: do exactly what BarBri tells you to do, when they tell you to do it. In my day (CA bar, 1995), BarBri gave out a calendar printed on one 11 x 17 sheet. Ours was pink. I tacked it up on the wall and did exactly what it said every day. My then husband was studying for the bar with me, and our rule was: between graduation and the bar exam, you must spend your time doing only the following: studying, running, sleeping or eating. I was in the best shape of my life that summer because I ran every day just to not have to study for 45-60 minutes. If you do what they tell you, you will pass.

      PS: It may have been overkill. We may have passed even if we did only a fraction of what BarBri told us. But we were not willing to guess at what that fraction might be and risk taking the bar again.

      • Absolutely. No one is willing to guess. It’s a weird thing to bust your ___ just to pass a test. You know that it’s unlikely you’re going to distinguish yourself by, saying, being first, and yet you don’t want to fail and face the humiliation and agony of having to go through it again. You’re killing yourself probably to be mediocre.

        And although I’m the kind of person who always tries to justify studying as “good for me/my career/my character” that self-talk did not work for the NY Bar exam. So much of my bar review study was spent shoveling in arcane technical stuff and retaining it just long enough to use it for the exam.

        I am not, however, saying that bar exams are completely worthless. Some people can’t organize a simple thought after three years’ of law school.

    • Click that little “x” in the top right corner of your computer.

      • Anonymous :

        Seriously, please try to eliminate distractions. I failed the CA bar on my first try and I graduated from a Top 3 law school and was at a Top 10 (Vault) firm. Yes, it was mortifying. What did me in, you ask? Well, I broke up with my boyfriend a few weeks before the Bar after being tired of trying to explain to him that yes, I really did need to study everyday and I could not be his mom/maid/ego-booster/booty call. Should have broken up with him before graduation!

    • I took the NY bar about 20 years ago. I took it very seriously, in part because I went to a top national law school which every year had a couple of people fail the NY bar (“You’re so smart, we’re not going to teach you any law, you’ll learn what you need while studying for the bar exam.”).

      Most people I know did nothing but study for six weeks. Again, many of them were learning a lot of technical material for the first time and they didn’t want to f__ it up. I went to all the BarBri lectures and took most of the practice exams. I think I even took a supplemental program (the firm was paying) that allowed students to submit exam answers and I freaked out when I got better grades on the answers to the questions I had completely winged.

      Pace yourself during this study period. Force yourself to learn actively. Reading alone won’t do it, especially if it’s new material. I assume that a company like BarBri has probably introduced some interactive learning products by now. As unpleasant as it is, do the practice questions, especially for all major areas.

      Master the little format they give you, I think they told us to state our conclusions at the very top of the page and then lay out our reasoning. It was like an empirical essay.

      Outline your answers, so you know where you’re going. I don’t know if they let people use computers now (I can’t type well on a typewriter), but make your answers as clean and readable as possible whether you type or write in longhand.

      Realize that the last couple of days before the exam probably won’t be valuable unless you’re a super-crammer; you’ll be adrenalin-drenched, burned-out and unable to sleep or think well. That’s why you have to have it in your head by then.

      If you have study companions, pick them carefully. Avoid unnecessary drama.

      Pack a good lunch. I just assumed that I’d be able to get food quickly during the break. The stands were packed and too far away and I had to get through the first day on nothing but a cup of coffee and a candy bar.

      Don’t panic. A kid sitting next to me froze. A few times I felt like saying, “Pick up your pencil and write something, damn it!” But he was paralyzed. He left after the morning session, but returned the next day to take the standardized part of the exam. I assume he had to retake the essay portions.

      Good Luck.

  5. Diana Barry :


    PSA re: J crew. I just ordered several dresses from them and before doing so, called and asked about the measurements. They can give you the exact measurements for any size, so I was able to figure out which dresses were likely to be long enough and only order those. They don’t have the hem allowance measurement, though – I had to take them to my tailor, who told me that he could let them out by approximately 1″.

    I ended up getting the “town hall dress” in super 120s, which has a nice high neckline, good for work, nice shape, and is longer than the other dresses that I got. Also looked at the “elise shift dress” (shapeless/boxy, plus too short) and the “exchange dress” (now on sale). Exchange dress was a good idea in theory, but the V neck was too low and the dress was too short for me. All of the dresses were good quality, fully lined etc.

  6. TheOtherCoast :

    JCrew’s vanity sizing is out of control. I had a baby less than a year ago. I’m five foot eight. There just isn’t any way I’m a size 0, yet the size 2 falls off! I know it’s just a number but sheesh. It is a lovely dress but runs big.

    • South of Houston :

      Agreed. I got this dress in a previous color that’s no longer available. I like it, but I am usually a 6 in most designers (e.g., DvF) but I have to get the 4 taken way in at the waist on this one and even then it fits more loosely than on the model. Their sizing is super inconsistent.

    • Agree on the sizing. I got in navy and returned it. It was unusually roomy, even for my small bust. Because of the “pooch” cut, it’s important that this fit closely (tailored, not tight), but that cut also makes tailoring a bit tricky. Like others mentioned, it was a little short for me, at least with heels and without pantyhose, which is how I prefer to wear my summer work dresses. If this fits you, though, it’s very cute and versatile.

      • Agree with the sizing. I have this dress, and I love it. The color is very flattering. I don’t find it too low cut, and I’m short enough that the hem isn’t too high. The little pleat in front hides my stomach without making it look larger. I wear it to work with an ivory cardigan. But I bought it in size 0, and I’m more like a size 4-6 in mainstream clothes.

  7. I like this dress. Maybe it will hit the sale rack at the end of the summer.

    Ladies, you’ve probably already realized I’m a major dork from my other posts, and the fact that I keep a spreadsheet of books I’ve read.

    But, if not, this will probably confirm it. I have tickets to the Glee concert in Boston tonight and I’m kind of excited. It will probably be me and thousands of teenage girls, but so be it.

    • That sounds like a lot of fun! I would completely go to that if they were in my area! (not that I’ve ever laid claim to being anything less than a dork, but still.)

    • If the Glee fan demographic in Boston is anything like the Glee fan demographic in DC, it’ll be you, ten thousand other mostly single women in their 20s and 30s, and twenty thousand gay men. Have fun!

    • Awful Lawful :

      No judgement here! Just jealousy! Wish I was going, but hope you have a great time!

    • Bunkster, that is NOT dorky! In fact, I’m incredibly jealous of you and your Glee concert. Sigh, when I watch that show, I just wish life was a musical. It’s ridiculous how much I truly believe we should all have at least one moment in our life when everyone bursts into song and perfectly coreographed dance… I say, OWN IT! :)
      Ok, giddy school girl rant over. But seriously, enjoy the concert, and know that a lot of us 20-somethings love Glee too, not just the high school kids :)

    • Francie Nolan :

      I am a dork as well. I think it sounds like a blast! Have fun and let us know how fabulous it was!

    • This weekend, you watched Too Big to Fail. Tonight, it’s a Glee concert. You aren’t a dork. You are well-rounded!

    • No judgment here – despite the blatant lack of continuity and out-there plot points, etc., I love Glee! Not going to the concert, but I’ll be going to see the concert movie, and that may well be dorkier than going to the concert itself. :) Have fun!

    • Oh, I am so jealous! If you are a dork (which you aren’t), I am a dork too! Own it! There was a Glee concert in Las Vegas when I was there last month and I didn’t go because I didn’t want to subject my boyfriend to it, but it was *so* hard to stay away…Please give us a review tomorrow!

      • Notalawyer :

        Bunkster, I’m a reader nerd as well. Has anyone introduced you to Goodreads.com yet? I was a spreadsheet keeper, but have totally switched to GR. I love it and it has so many more options. It makes keeping track of reads so easy and fun.

        No, I’m not affiliated w/them.

        • Thanks. That is a cool site. I uploaded my books, but I have over 600 on the spreadsheet and it would be a serious project to convert my ratings (A,B,C,D) to the numeric ratings they use, especially since I use + and -, too.

          • Same as... :

            Oooh, I am a spreadsheet wh*** and a total bookworm…Although what I would really like is some way to grade my Kindle books (now at 265 and counting, egh!). Of course, a good 60% would be graded R for “typical cheesy romance”… ;)

  8. Speaking of shift dresses, I’m happy with this purchase from the Nordstrom sale: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/halogen-stitched-waist-sheath-dress/3140836?origin=PredictiveSearch&resultback=0
    Contrary to the review on the site, I thought the dress fit my curves perfectly. There’s also a matching jacket that looks much better without the belt: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/halogen-seamed-belted-jacket/3140835?origin=PredictiveSearch&resultback=485
    I liked all 4 pieces and it was a great deal at under $250.

    • I like this better than the featured dress. It seems to have a little more fullness where we need it. The fabric will have more body than a cotton, and that is important for work appropriateness. The style is a little simpler and less unconventional.

  9. Ladies, last week I asked for advice on holding out for my worth. Today the company has contacted me via the agency – they have agreed to an increased financial package (which as a percentage term is a significant increase!) I’m still looking for something better long term, but I feel incredibly positive about this experience and I’m looking forward to getting back to work in the short term.

    Thanks to all those who told me to stick to my guns, and know my own worth. I really needed and valued that support, and following your advice has paid off!

  10. Corporettes 5’3″ and under:

    Maxi dresses? Yes? No? Thoughts? Styling suggestions?

    • AccountingNerd :

      I’ve tried on several lately, but haven’t found one I love. :( I don’t know if it’s because I’m short(5’2″), but they just don’t flatter my figure as well as short dresses. Might be because I have a small chest, and maxi dresses seem to draw attention to that area. I need to show some leg!

    • Yes! I was just having this conversation with a fellow petite friend–especially in the summer, maxi dresses can be really elegant. (And I do think they can make you look taller.) Granted, I’m thinking more along the line of what might be called “column dresses”–dresses that are pretty much straight up and down, not the boho chic ones with flounces and tiers. I wear them all the time, especially if I’m going to a nice-ish warm-weather event–with good flats and neat hair you will look very posh.

      • I’m just over 5’3 and have a lot of “petite” sized clothes, and I co-sign this entirely. Column maxis are fantastic for me, and even have the effect of making me look taller or more willowy than I really am. The more boho styles seem to swallow me and just look odd. YMMV, of course, but the column styles are worth a try.

    • I’m 5’9, so can’t speak from personal experience, but after observing thousands of women in sundresses at a wine festival this weekend, I think you can pull off a maxi dress at any height– it’s the height-width ratio that matters. So the shorter you are, the thinner you need to be for it to look good.

      I agree with C, petite women can’t get away with as much extra fabric in the skirt as taller ones…so if you want to try a more “boho” style dress, definitely wear it with some wedges.

    • Two cents :

      On the subject of maxis, has anyone found ones WITH sleeves (short sleeve ok)?

      • YES! Forever21, believe it or not. http://www.forever21.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=FOREVER21&category%5Fname=dress%5Fmaxi&product%5Fid=2064787977&Page=all&pgcount=25.

        H&M used to have them, I haven’t stopped by in a while.

      • Co-signed Forever21. I have a dark gray column dress with three-quarter sleeves that I purchased for about $22 to wear to a New Year’s Eve party this year after my luggage was lost. It’s so fabulous that I almost went back and bought another.

      • Accountress :

        I don’t know if she makes straight sizes, but Rachel Pally makes some lovely maxi dresses in the plus sizes.

    • 5″4 but here goes…

      1. yes to maxis
      2. make sure they’re fitted atleast till the waist
      3. I personally find that maxis that expose my ankles make me look taller (or so I think)
      4. go sleeveless (all my maxi dresses are tank style on top and either body skimming or straight)

  11. Tuesday morning vent:

    I was out of town this weekend and flew home last night. While getting ready/packing yesterday morning I laid out my white suit coat jacket on the hotel bed to wear on the plane home. (You know where this is going.) I decided to wear something else and didn’t pack the white jacket, only to realize this last night while I was unpacking. I called the hotel immediately, but they hadn’t found it. They said to call again today, which I did, and they still haven’t found it. I’m guessing, and security suggested the same, that housekeeping may not have seen the jacket, and just stripped the bed. Apparently they outsource their laundry, so unless someone in the process finds it, it’ll be washed on high heat mixed in with sheets from a bunch of other hotels. Maybe it will end up in Goodwill heaven…? The biggest bummer is that the store isn’t selling that suit jacket anymore because it was part of their Spring line. Oh well. It was a super cute suit jacket that I wore exactly three times.

    Vent over. Back to work. :)

    • That’s a total bummer. And sounds like something I would do :*(

    • Too bad! Maybe ebay has it?

    • That stinks! It was good you called though.

      I once left a pair of diamond earings at a hotel (first Christmas gift from my husband). I looked all over the house before realizing that must be what happened. I was going back to the same city for a work conference–mind you, several months after we had stayed there–and called the hotel to ask if they were there just on a lark. Turns out they STILL had them! I couldn’t believe it. (Still can’t!) I caught a cab across town after my conference wrapped, picked them up, and DH was never the wiser.

      At any rate, here’s hoping the universe puts you on the positive side next time. Sometimes hotel miracles can happen! :)

    • TooBoredToBill :

      I am still craving my perfect grey pencil skirt that I left at a hotel years ago. Easily replaceable? Not at all. The fabric was PERFECT. The shade of grey was PERFECT. The slit length was PERFECT. The fit was PERFECT, like it was made just for me and it was timeless. Ugh. I am 1000000% positive that I left it there. They never “found” it. They refuse to admit that someone on their staff decided it was nice and took it. It’s so great to hear stories like anon’s. It reminds me that there are still good people out there!

      • Thanks for the kind words and encouragement, ladies. Anon, that is an awesome story!

        Good news — I called around and found a replacement suit jacket! The store is holding it for me. I’m not thrilled about buying a second one, but I’m really grateful the matching pants, skirt, and cropped pants, which are currently hanging in my closet, won’t be without a matching jacket.

        p.s. I’m not a frequent poster here, but I love the community. Thanks for sympathizing with me. Just writing it and putting it out there somehow made me feel better.

  12. Question for Eponine et al :

    On the weekend thread, Eponine said that in general, men should avoid wearing all-black suits. I’m curious about that – why can women wear black suits and men should not? No snark intended, seriously. My DH just bought a black suit (for the first time) and we’re trying to figure out how/when he’s going to wear it again. Thanks.

    • Well, according to my clothes-horse brother, men are only supposed to wear black suits to funerals. Everyday suits should be charcoal/grey/navy etc. I don’t know if that’s what Eponine was talking about, though.

      • Yep, that’s what I always learned. Black suits on men are for funerals. However, the last time this was discussed on Corporette someone unearthed an article about how this started – apparently wearing a black suit was traditionally for household help, like butlers, and gentlemen didn’t wear all black. Still, the rule seems to be widely-accepted enough that I really never see men wearing black suits in the workplace.

        • I see men wearing all black suits at work and in other settings (weddings, etc.) all the time. I never think anything of it, assuming the suit itself is nice. I also never heard of that rule. I’m not sure how widespread it really is. Now, black suit + dark shirt . . . . that’s another story. . . .

          • It seems to be pretty widespread. At any rate, Wikipedia knows about it.

            In the US and UK, suits were never traditionally made in plain black, this colour instead being reserved for formal wear[11] (including dinner jackets or strollers), and for undertakers. However, the decline of formal wear in recent years has meant that black, as well as being popular in fashionable scenes,[11] such as clubbing, is now also being worn in formal contexts (such as to a funeral or religious function) in place of the traditional more formal wear.

    • I see a ton of black suits at dressy weddings too. My DH’s standard wedding outfit is a black suit with a bright blue shirt and sometimes a black tie. Men’s black suits seem a little severe for daytime. I think it’s easier for a woman to pull off a black suit during the day because we can wear shirts in patterns or colors that soften the look.

    • I was at a conference last week with a bunch of typically corporate-dressed people, but one man who stood out in my memory was wearing dark jeans, a white shirt and black suit coat – not blazer, a single-breasted suit coat. He is a really nice-looking man to begin with, but wow, he looked great in that get-up. He seemed like the coolest guy there.

      • Anonymous :

        Sounds like you found Papabear!

        • ha! Unfortunately, there is already a Papabear! And also a Mrs. Hotguy. :)

          • Question for Eponine et al :

            As the original poster, I must say that this was a funny exchange – it made me chuckle. You women rock!

    • I’ve heard this, too. Of course, I was mortified (no pun intended) because at the time, I’d just bought a lovely black tropical wool 3-piece from Brooks Brothers, but it isn’t a “rule” Eponine just dreamed up.

  13. Anonymous :

    Color question: I plan on wearing a gray suit with a cream or white blouse this week. Can I wear nude-for-me shoes with gray? My only other choice are my black wedges that don’t look good with that skirt. If yes on the nude shoes, then what color purse is is good with that combination? Thanks!

    • Yes, that sounds like a great outfit. Any color purse would look great because your entire outfit is composed of neutrals.

    • AccountingNerd :

      I can’t wait to hear everyone’s answers! I found the cutest nude/khaki -colored pumps last weekend and was telling my mom I was planning on wearing them with my gray dress pants to work. She was adamant that you are not supposed to wear nude shoes with gray. I think it looks fine, but after what she said I haven’t worn them with gray yet. I did wear my new shoes with khaki slacks and was self-conscious the whole day because I didn’t know if it looked ok. Do people do this? The shoes are almost the same color as the khaki pants. I don’t have good examples where I work (government agency). I have seen people here wear scrunchies, camo sweatshirts, and crushed velvet suits! :::::shudder:::::

      • I could see nude shoes looking odd with dark gray, but I can’t see what the issue would be with a lighter spring/summer gray. Unless there was some reason given (rather than just being really adamant) for the no gray with nude shoes, and you think it looks okay, then I wouldn’t worry about it.

  14. SF Bay Associate :

    I’m so impressed with how on topic we are in the “body type” posting, so I’m threadjacking in this old post instead. The summers have arrived, and good heavens here we go again. Young lady 1, that skirt is at least 6″ above your knees and is too short for work. Young lady 1, sleeveless is not appropriate here. Young lady 2, I should not need to see the entire outline of your bra cups in that tight top. And Young Lady 2, just because your flimsy fabric tshirt was expensive and has sequins all over it does not mean it is “business casual.”

    Lawd have mercy.

    • SF Bay Associate – as a fellow attorney practicing in the bay, i am so curious as to where you work!

    • Does anyone here take summers aside to review the dress code? I am just posting as a general question, since a lot of people seem to come on this board to snark about what summers are wearing, assuming they’ll just innately know what is right. Some younger people may not know, and second career attorneys may be coming from fields/offices/regions that are far more casual. I know when I moved abroad to work, the person I replaced came from a more casual workplace in that country and made a few mistakes when she started at my workplace. She was nice enough to tell me up front that sleeveless was not allowed, and I really appreciated it.

      • Anonymous :

        “How are summers supposed to know?”

        I would truly hope that a summer would do a bit of research into what’s appropriate, perhaps by reading this blog without insulting the OPs.

        99% of the time you’re not going to be coddled or spoon fed anything, and not just about the dress code. You’ll need to take the initiative to find important things out for yourself.

        And honestly? Even if they don’t post things people are judging you on your clothes, speech, and behavior as well as your work.

    • Anonymous :

      Thank you for posting. Hopefully it’s taken in the spirit it was intended and it won’t just offend other posters.

  15. Anyone from down south? Are women in federal court wearing panty hose with their suit-dresses in the south? I have to appear in federal court in Louisiana and am looking for advice on appropriate attire. Thanks!

    • Charlotte :

      I am in federal court all the time here in Va., and I eschew pantyhose for the summer. I can only imagine what it feels like in La.! All the other younger female attorneys do it as well, except I would say the older the female attorney, perhaps the less likely she is to skip the pantyhose here…..

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