Tuesday’s TPS Report: Crinkle Stripe Skirt

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

I love the pattern on this skirt. It’s black and white with slightly wavy vertical stripes — so it is flattering, versatile, and interesting.  Yes please! There is a matching short-sleeved jacket for it, which looks really cute for a short-sleeved jacket, but for $228 I would probably wait for a bigger sale before purchasing the jacket. The skirt, though, is adorable, and available for $158 at Nordstrom. Classiques Entier Crinkle Stripe Skirt

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



  1. SummerClerk :

    Ladies, what would you do if you arrived at the office and then realized that your outfit didn’t work? (specifically, I’ve only just realized that my pants define my backside a lot more than I’d like…) Go shopping on your lunch break? Stay in your office all day? It’s not *too* bad, but it is making me a bit self conscious about walking down the halls. Thanks in advance for your advice!

    • I’d stay in my seat as much as possible and be stealthy about when I get up. This particular issue probably wouldn’t warrant an emergency Ann Taylor run for me.

    • lostintranslation :

      It’s probably one of those things that’s more obvious to you than others :) I would only shop during the lunch break if you have the time, money, AND logistics allow you to buy something that you’ll enjoy wearing later on. Everyone has outfits that worked better in their head than in reality.

    • Same here (I’d just try to stay put), most people really won’t notice. Although this is a good argument for keeping a long sweater or jacket in your office, just in case.

      Personally, I wouldn’t go shopping unless it was a true, all out disaster. (I say that as someone who owns the same pair of shoes in both black and dark brown, and one time picked up the wrong pair with black pants- I hated it, but toughed it out!)

    • Are you wearing hose under? Maybe adding something underneath would reduce the cling factor.

    • The cheapo solution might be a pair of control top hose – not so fun to wear under pants but a good alternative to feeling self-conscious all day

    • another anon :

      Run out and get a pair of Spanx (or similar) at lunch? Probably easier, quicker, and cheaper than shopping for new pants.

    • You’ll draw much more attention to yourself if you show up in a new outfit post-lunch. If you didn’t notice it at home, it’s probably not that noticeable to begin with. If you’re really self conscious, try the control top idea. Otherwise, just try to stay sitting down, and try to be productive. Your work product will be more important than anything you wear in terms of the impression you leave behind.

    • I’ve only bought a new outfit at work once but it was in a different situation. I was wearing pants that were a tad too snug but more so they were driving me nuts because they were too short. I bought a new pair between my morning doctor’s appointment and going into the office. In that instance, nobody at work knew that I had changed and I bought an item that I needed to buy anyway. It may look odd if you change now. If you can, hang out in your office. If you’re wearing an untucked shirt, perhaps you can unbutton the pants too.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Hang in there today. Stay seated as much as you can, and carry your purse/redwell behind you as you walk if you are self conscious. Emergency shopping usually leads to full-priced impulse purchases that you later regret, especially since you’ll want to wear the new bottoms out of the store and thus won’t be able to return. No one is noticing as much as you are and there’s only a few more hours left in the day :).

    • I’m in the minority here, but I would do an emergency shopping trip and buy something classic that you can use again. I’ve done this when I realized my shirt was too low cut (picked up a scoop neck T at H&M and wore it with a cardigan for the rest of the day), and a pencil skirt that was too tight (picked up a different navy pencil skirt at Macy’s). If you’re going to be thinking that your pants are too revealing all day, you’re going to be distracted and have a bad day. I vote for lunchtime shopping. =)

    • This was me yesterday. I got to work and realized my dress was just a bit too short — I just camped out in my office working on a brief that needed to be done, ate lunch at my desk, and made very quick trips to the bathroom. Now, today, I’m wrinkly, but unfortunately I have a lunch meeting I have to attend. This week has been nuts! I’m usually not this disheveled. I don’t think you need a shopping trip — it could lead to bad impulse buys.

    • Anon for this one :

      Can you don a shawl or scarf or something that’s eye catching and likely to draw the focus of the eye?

    • Ignore it. If I had a penny for every day that happened, I could retire NOW!

  2. This is a lovely skirt, but, as my dad says: It’s too damned expensive!

    Quick Threadjack: Does anyone have any idea how a lawyer can get smart all of a sudden on the derivative laws in Dodd-Frank? My boyfriend just got a job at a medium sized firm and knows nothing about this and needs to get up to speed right away. Is there a hornbook on this or some place on the Internet that he can read to get smart right away? He does not want to look dumb, and I want to help.

    • Dealbreaker, WSJ, and Financial Post.

      • Davis Polk and Sullivan and Cromwell are both doing frequent client alerts/summaries, both on individual rulemakings and on the overall process. Tell him to check out their websites. Morrison Foerster also has a listerserve he can get on for daily updates. Major rulemaking agencies are SEC, CFTC, Federal Reserve, FDIC, CFPB (not fully online yet, but hot button), OCC, Treasury (and its various sub office) – all have websites with lists of proposed/finalized rules and press releases. SEC and CFTC are the big ones for derivatives.

        Also tell him to go looking for articles that talk about the craziness going down on July 16, since that’s probably going to be a topic of conversation if he’s working on derivatives.

    • Is he in DC? The DC Bar has offered quite a few CLEs on this – I’d also check out CLEs via the ABA or his state bar.

    • Personally, I printed out the legislation itself and read it. Nothing like the source. It’s actually pretty readable.

  3. Planner Recs? :

    Does anyone have any recommendations for professional but pretty planners? I’d like something large that has the work week and then a lot of room for notes and to-do items. It doesn’t need to have a detailed calendar or address book, since I use my Bb. I like to write down immediate to-do lists to stay focused.

    Kind of like: Moleskine, but more fun
    Not-so-much: 90’s Refillable planners (don’t need the extra pages) or Lily Pulitzer stationery (too cutesy for my male-dominated field).

    • I use a red Lawyer’s Diary, in the med. size.

      I am also a fan of the Metropolitan Museum Shop planners.

      • What’s a Lawyer’s Diary?

        • It’s one of these red leather planners they give out at my job, which I have seen at other places I have worked, so I assumed it’s pretty standard. Maybe not? I actyualy have two: one from a company called ataglance and another from West. The West one is called “West’s Appointment Book for Judges and Lawyers.” I like the ataglance better b/c it has more room to write (each day = page); the West one has more reference info but multiple days per page.

          It’s great — it has all the important court holidays, contact and judge info for courts accross the country, how to get certain records (birth, death, marriage . . . ) by state + fees for each , a chart for degress of kindred, you name it. . . It also has lots of room to write to-do lists, and basically organize as you see fit. I usually write notes for myself, to jog my memory (e.g., “Spoke to X, will file Y by Z date”).

    • BarPrepper :

      I like several that are sold at Barnes + Noble. They’re inexpensive enough that I don’t feel terrible tossing them if I get sick of them, but they’re durable enough that I can toss them around fearlessly!

      On a similar note: I went digital last year and run my day with my iPhone calandar, synched to googlecalendar and Outlook. Have any of you ‘rettes have any luck with an iPhone app that recognizes “handwriting” when I write on the screen with my finger? Does said app work well with your calendar system?

    • Have you looked at the Circa notebooks on Levenger.com? I have a stationary/office supply problem (in that, I can never have too many). It’s not cheap, but I think it looks very professional and nice. They have all sorts of pages you can swap in and out and customize to fit what you need.

    • I love my Filofax. It comes in tons of colors. It’s refillable, but I can’t see why you wouldn’t want refillable. Just don’t buy any pages you don’t want to use.

      • Anon for extreme dorkiness :

        Eponine, I knew I hearted you for a reason. I’m obsessed with my Filofax. I can make all the lists/notes I want, and just toss whatever I don’t need. Plus all the options for binders! I have 5 or so and change them out with moods and seasons – like purses!

      • I got away from my Filofax because it was too bulky and heavy. Any experience with the slimline?

        • Anon for extreme dorkiness :

          I’ve used a slimline – it can comfortably hold about 100 pages with no dividers, fewer with dividers. If you only use a month to view calendar, or only a few weeks at a time of weekly pages plus note pages, it should be enough.

          Filofax is releasing two “Compact” size planners soon, that are supposed to have rings between the regular personal and slimline sizes. They are due out in late July/ early August.

          You might also want to consider switching to a pocket size planner – it isn’t nearly as small as it looks!

        • I have a Filofax mini and I love it – it’s about 3 inches by 3 inches and the pages have enough space for my daily notes and activities. I don’t use it for anything other than a planner so ymmv if you need it as a address book or whatever too.

    • Planner Recs? :

      Thanks guys. I have the same office supply problem as EC MD, but I knew that you guys would know of products I didn’t even know I needed :). I really like the simple Rhodia Circa notebook, but the idea of a happy colored filofax filled with simple pages is actually really good too. I just remember buying one of those refillable planners in the 90’s and it being full of hotel and airline hotline numbers, shoe size conversion charts, feline astrological signs, worksheets for inheritance taxes, etc.

      • Hahha. Yeah, my dad used to give me the free ones he got from his union when I was in college and they were totally like that. With Filofax you buy pages a la carte, although new ones usually come with the basic calendar and a few notes pages.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I use a “My Agenda” planner. It’s essentially a moleskine, but more fun. I currently have a very non-lawyer-y planner (think animal print cover), but they have pleasant solid colors as well. I personally love that my planner is outside the norm.

    • I have used Franklin Covey planners for years and love them. Pricey, but worth it because of all the options and the high quality planner covers.

    • lawtalkinggirl :

      My favorite type planner since college has been Quo Vadis – http://quovadisplanners.com/. I use the Minister.

      • peninsula78 :

        I love my quo vadis planner, too! Plus the covers are clean and professional looking, can be refilled every year, and come with many different colors.

    • Barnes and Noble seemed to have a huge selection of new planners just a couple of days ago.

  4. Diana Barry :

    Hey ladies – I tried out the Bloomie’s personal shopping services yesterday. They had 2 suits, 4 tops waiting – I tried them all on, they fit well, and got a 3 pc theory suit and a boss multicolor silk top, inside 20 minutes! (I went for the sale, got “pre-sold” at sale prices and will pick up today on the first day of the sale.) Quick and easy. The prices were pretty good, about $40 more for the jacket than regular J crew prices, skirt and pants same price, and blouse about $20 more.

    • excellent, I’m glad that worked for you since I think I was the one who recommended it!

      • BarPrepper :

        Have people had the same luck with Nordstrom? I always worry that if I’m looking to spend less than $500, it’s not worth a personal shopper’s time. Is this true?

        • TheOtherCoast :

          I recently had a Nordstrom personal shopper contact me (I have a card with Nordstrom) and offer services so I set up an appointment for the anniversary pre-sale. She was pretty adamant that “any budget” was fine, though mine was more than $500. I think it is your expectations that count– if you expect to get two suits and two blouses for $500, it is probably a waste of YOUR time, but if your expectations are reasonable, like 3 nice blouses and two skirts for $500, then it is definitely not a waste of the PS’s time; it’s practically a guaranteed sale of $500.

          • TheOtherCoast :

            Also, I did the whole set up through email- she asked me lots of questions and I just replied when I had time. I found it to be very convenient because I could really think about what I wanted to get out of the experience– for me it was at least two wool suits and several silk or cotton blouses, as well as one or two casual, non-work outfits.

        • While it’s true they work on commission, Nordstrom’s personal shoppers will help regardless of your budget. I suggest jotting down some things before meeting with her so you have time to think about it and don’t forget (sort of like going to the doctor): your favorite outfit you own, your business environment, trends you’d like to try or avoid, your budget, the body things you are self conscious about, etc. While she will likely ask you that in the course of working with you, this way you save time and won’t feel bad if you don’t spend a fortune. I think one of the best things about a personal shopper is that she is looking out for you in the future – she might call or e-mail when there is a sale of your favorite t-shirt and slacks, for example. Good luck!

          • MaggieLizer :

            The regular salespeople at Nordstrom’s will stalk items for you, too. I tried on a CE blouse a few months ago but hesitated because of the price. I left my number with the salesperson who helped me (I got a few other things that day) and she called me last week to let me know it had just gone on sale. She even put it behind the counter for me so I could pick it up after work.

        • Most personal shoppers are looking to build a long-term client base, so if they can help you with a $200 purchase and know you’ll be satisfied and come back to them for your next one they’ll be happy to help you.

        • I am late to chime in. About 5 years ago I used a Nordstrom personal shopper for about 2 seasons. It was during my office’s transition to business casual and I was confused. Additionally, I had a trip coming up that made me nervous. and I needed a “capsule” wardrobe that would soothe my nerves by making me feel that my planned outfits were all fabulous.

          I loved my shopper. It was nice to arrive and find a large, private fitting room full of items for me to try on initially. After my personal shopper met me, she left and cruised the floors to come back with additional items for me to consider.

          Some of the items i bought from her I wear to this day. One very expensive skirt I almost never wore, and sadly I just consigned it. But overall it was totally worth it and I bought things I wouldn’t have otherwise considered. I also got personal style advice from her that I use to this day.

          I’d still be using her services, but she moved on to have her own pracitce, which would be a bit much for me. I haven’t made the effort to find a replacement personal shopper, but I might, if I find myself in a rut.

      • Diana Barry :

        Thanks – I wouldn’t have thought of using the personal shoppers if not for the Corporettes. :)

  5. Shoes question (casual, not office shoes – at least not my office!) –

    Do Toms have decent support? Comfortable?

    • Lefty lawyer :

      Unfortunately, Toms shoes have no support. I just added a gel insole to mine.

    • found a peanut :

      I think Toms do have some support because the insole has a bump-thing by the arch of your foot. I have a pair and I really love them. Buy them a half-size small because they will stretch within 1-2 wears. I think they are comfortable and lightweight – a perfect shoe for traveling. I got a pair of the $44 Toms, but I wore them out and bought a more expensive pair (around $80 IIRC) at Neiman’s. They have a thicker sole and have held up better.

    • Does anyone else think Toms are worse than uggs? Im seeing them everywhere so I’m obviously in the minority but I really don’t get the appeal. Is it ease? comfort?

      • I don’t own a pair, but the appeal for me is that for every pair, they donate a pair. Since I don’t like how they look, I’d rather just pay to donate shoes myself, but I can more easily get behind this trend than uggs.

      • I think they’re ugly shoes. They also seem to wear quickly because I see many people with holes in the toes.

      • They’re a terribly run “charity” that floods markets with unneeded “donations” and undercuts local sellers, too – so yes, worse than Uggs.


    • I have high arches and can’t wear shoes with no arch support for more than a few hours or I get lots of aches. I received a pair of Tom’s as a gift, and have been pleasantly surprised to find that they do indeed have an arch support (not as high as running shoes or anything but pretty good). They are really comfy for me and I wear them all the time.

  6. I wish they would show these suit pieces together rather than as separates.

  7. Advice needed! I just returned from a 2 week vacation. Right before the vacation I received an offer from another law firm that I had submitted my resume to in January. While on vacation, I accepted the offer but, per the new employer’s instructions, I am not giving notice to my current employer until conflicts clear (hopefully by the end of the week).

    So, my question is, is this really tacky to be returning from a vacation and then immediately give notice? Initially, I thought the timing worked well since I have been taken off all of my assignments while on vacation; however, now, I fear as though it will look like I was milking them for a bit more salary. Is there any way to avoid this?

    Also, any tips on giving notice in general? My departure will be very unexpected–the firm is small and I have not given any of the partners any indication that I am thinking about leaving (I started looking elsewhere solely for personal reasons that cannot be resolved if I stay at the current firm) and, based on my recent review, I am well liked in my group. I do not want to burn bridges, but I fear that is inevitable (especially since I will be leaving in the middle of the summer program). The new employer has indicated they would like a start date before the end of July, so there is no way around the mid-summer departure. In any event, I would like to soften the blow. Please help!!

    • Congratulations, anon! Good for you!

      What do you and other readers think about letting your employer know, “I know this probably comes as a surprise. This literally has come together in the past couple of weeks, and I wanted to let you know as soon as this was firm.” I’ve moved firms before, and a few days after I gave notice, I went to my mentor and let him know how grateful I am for him, how much he taught me, how I can’t imagine my first few years as a lawyer without him. I tried to stay nice, though there was some small snarkiness directed my way. It was important to me that they know how much they meant to me. And now that I’ve been gone, I still keep in touch with a few of them, still refer cases their way when I can, etc.

      I suppose I’m saying that it might be how you act and conduct yourself over the next month that will really leave the impression, and it sounds like you handle yourself well and are well-liked. I don’t think that will change. You will be giving them about 4 weeks notice – that’s appropriate and professional. Good luck!

      • I did this with my last job. I basically went to my boss as well as my mentor and told them in person, and mentioned that I had loved worked there, but due to other factors I would be accepting a job offer from someone else.

        My gig was just temporary, and I left before my contract was up, but I had been offered the chance to stay on and eventually get a permanent job. But even so, I felt that it was important to state that it wasn’t them, or the job itself, but the situation.

        At some point, I might want to change back again, and it was therefore important to leave on a good standing.

    • I had to do this once – I came back from a vacation that was already seen as excessively long in Biglaw (2.5 weeks), and I got a new job offer right when I got back and had to give notice about two weeks after getting back from my vacation. No one cared that I’d just been on vacation before I gave notice. Just be professional and wrap up your current projects as much as possible, sincerely thank the people who’ve influenced your experiences at your current job, and move on to your exciting new job.

    • Ballerina Girl :

      A lot of places pay you out for unused vacation time anyway so it may be okay from their perspective.

    • Resign in person, with a follow-up letter. Talking in person to your supervisor first and HR/management second is the best way not to burn bridges.

      Give them as much notice as possible, but be prepared to be asked to leave the same day, especially if there are potential conflicts.

    • Thank you for all the advice!

      TX Attny, I think that is a good way to phrase it. I am trying to get my office as organized as possible and put all my binders/files in central filing to be prepared for the “please clean out your office by the end of the day” response, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a warmer response.

      Thanks again for the advice!

      • AnonAlways :

        Along these lines, does anyone have advice on how to handle what I have been told is the inevitable call at my firm from the associate development partner asking “why leaving”? Part of me wants to be helpful and provide some constructive feedback. On the other hand, I think it has potential to not come across well and don’t want to burn bridges.

        • I think it depends on the type of feedback. If you have something general, you can give that information (“benefits were not as competitive” etc.). I wouldn’t say anything that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.

    • One of the main pieces of advice in NGDGTCO that spoke to me is not to worry about saving the firm money. The men don’t worry about that. The firm doesn’t worry about that. Would your male colleagues feel guilty about taking a vacation before leaving? No.

      You deserved your vacation. You needed it. If you had planned to leave, it might have been a good idea to take a vacation between jobs anyway. Don’t feel guilty about that. You get vacation time as a benefit in your job. You used the benefit that you were given. That’s not your fault in any way.

      I do agree with the other posters – give notice, in person, to your supervisor. Then if you have any mentors or others that you expect will be disappointed when you leave, have a sit-down with them, also in person, and explain how much you have learned from them and how much you will miss them and their importance in your career.

      Whether to do an exit interview (i.e., answer the “Why leaving?” question) is up to you. If you have brought out problems before, then they’re not likely to listen to you now if they didn’t before. A standard answer like, “Personal reasons” is ok. Use your own judgment on how much detail to give. You don’t need to give any at all.

  8. Legally Brunette :

    Cute skirt! I have a Classiques crinkle striped skirt from last year that is incredibly flattering. It’s a different fabric than this, though.

    If anyone is interested in buying this, I would wait a few weeks and I bet it will go on sale for about $80.

  9. Nice skirt! Just picked it up, thanks Kat. Relatedly, on the way in to work today I was so surprised by all of the mid-thigh hemlines (in the Chicago loop). Seemed like one out of ten women had on a skirt I’d actually wear to the office. Or to dinner. Maybe everyone just works in more casual offices than mine, but I don’t see how some of the ladies could even sit down without their skirts riding up to short-short length. What gives? It is sunny and 70 today, yay, but still. Spring fever? Am I just getting old?

  10. Fading cream :

    I’m a woman of color. Since my teens, the area around my chin and upper lip have been significantly darker than the rest of my face. I’m not skilled enough with makeup to even out my complexion. I used Retina for a while to help with the discoloration and that has helped some. However, my derm advised me not to use Retina during the summer because it makes your skin very sensitive to sunlight.

    Can anyone recommend a skin lightening cream that helps with discoloration on the face? I guess something with hydroquinine would be best?

    • Hydroquinine also makes your skin very sensitive to sunlight, fyi.

    • Have you tried mineral makeup? I’m white with blotchy skin. I’ve found it much easier to apply mineral makeup evenly than to apply liquid makeup evenly.

    • Hmm. I’ve used Retin A over the summers with no problem – just always used sunscreen. I like the Clarins brightening line (especially the moisturizer) – might be worth a shot over the summer?

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I’ve been using AMBI’s exfoliating face wash and moisturizer with SPF 30 for about a month and the EvenBlend formula they have has really been fading some of my very stubborn acne marks. In addition, I have really oily skin, especially during the summer, and this keeps the oil at bay all day. Also, it was only about $12 for both products and I only have to use one pump of the moisturizer for my entire face.

      I’m not sure how much it would help the larger area you have, but it may be worth a shot. But I do warn you, it took me 3-4 weeks before I was seeing definite (versus wishful) improvement.

      Hope this helps.

  11. Name change question. I’ve been thinking about taking my husband’s last name and using my maiden name as a middle name. The catch is that I would want to actually use *both* names, not have the maiden name essentially disappear (the way middle names often do). My question for everyone is whether this is a realistic goal.

    I know of some women, like some federal judges, who use two last names like this, so it seems it could happen in theory, but of course it doesn’t always work. Hillary Rodham Clinton is really just Hillary Clinton now. And I worry that the “drop one name” phenomenon would be particularly exacerbated in my case, where both last names are of somewhat-difficult ethnic varieties: mine is Eastern European, his is South Asian. So imagine something like Bridget Kowalski Malhotra. I imagine that’s such a mouthful that the middle name would be dropped. Am I right?

    I know there are a lot of considerations to take into account regarding whether to take a husband’s last name, but I have considered them all and I’m certain of my priorities here, so it really comes down to this: If I ultimately get only one last name on a day-to-day basis, I’d rather use my birth name than my husband’s.

    • I decided not to take my husband’s last name at all for that very reason – if I had to choose, I wanted my birth name. And I didn’t hyphenate or change my middle name because, as in your situation, the names are slightly complicated and long. It was much simpler to keep my maiden name, though people sometimes make remarks about it in my small, conservative midwestern city.

    • I use my maiden name as my middle name and my husband’s name as my last name (without a hyphen). Both names are listed on our firm letterhead, outside our office, on my emails, court filings, etc. People do tend to drop my maiden name (it is harder to pronounce) and just use my husband’s name (it is vanilla – think “Smith”). However, I have not been assertive about using my maiden name. I am pretty inconsistent about how I introduce myself. I wonder if that would be different if I always introduced myself to people with both names.

      If keeping your name is really important to you, you could consider switching the order – keep your maiden name as your last name and insert husband’s name as middle name. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! Alternatively, you could hyphenate. I think people respect the hyphen and see it as a sign that you intend for them to use both names.

    • Diana Barry :

      I took husband’s name as middle name, but didn’t drop my middle name, and I eventually ended up with 2 middle names. I used my name for a while at work, and then switched when changing jobs about 1.5 yrs after we got married. I use both middle initials, but not the middle names.

      I think it is easier to have a double-barreled last name if you drop your middle name (if you have one), or hyphenate.

      • Yes, I would definitely drop my current middle name. It’s a very long one.

    • I did as you are thinking– it’s what women in my family have always done. I use my full name for every little thing at work, email, introductions, phone, no exceptions. It’s my name, all of it. People might think it’s hyphenated, etc.

      My maiden name is my middle name now but I have never stopped using it professionally– it just preceeds my married name now, but they are constant companions. Hilary dropped her name herself– outside pressure, but her choice. People can’t drop it if you don’t. They don’t get to name you. They can’t start calling you Jane if you are Sue. When they do– every now and then someone will accindentally or intentionally call me only one of the names when introducing me, etc. I just correct it to the person to whom I’m being intro’d– Hi, I’m First Maiden Last, smiling.

      It’s up to you, like everything else. Mostly, other people don’t care. Even if they do, they’ll get over it and do as you do if you have the courage of your convictions and do it, unwavering. This is a small thing, but it’s everything, you dig? :)

      • PS: HRC probably dropped it cause she didn’t care anymore– she was running for her own office and did her own cost/benefit analysis. If you stop caring someday, that’s cool, too. Stop caring, make a savvy switch for gains of some sort, etc. What’s important is doing what you want. This is one thing that is totally up to you– making a choice, enforcing it. Imagine that first day of class, correcting the teacher (who honestly doesn’t care) on proper pronunciation or preference… that speak now or forever hold your piece moment. A name is the outward distillation of who and what you are. It’s fundamental, and it’s yours, and it’s therefore up to you.

      • I responded below, but I do agree that you deserve to be called what you want and that consistency is the key. If you go this route, I’d suggest talking to your IT department and making sure your new email address includes both names.

    • Hyphenating (as in First Maiden-Married or First Married-Maiden) tends to help keep one of the last names from getting dropped. If you use your married name or your maiden name as your “middle” name, you are asking to have it dropped, since who ever uses anyone’s middle name?

      • I’ve thought of this and agree it seems to solve my “name drop” problem, but I’ve heard a lot of horror stories of sorts about how difficult it is to deal with hyphenated names given computer systems that are not set up for them. (Also, my husband is super opposed to hyphenation for some reason, but likes the First Maiden Last set-up. Go figure — maybe he is counting on people dropping the Maiden.)

        • I have a hyphenated name. When I get married, I plan to remain hyphenated (change the last, last name.) I’ve lived with the hyphen my whole life. Hyphenation used to be much more of a pain, but now its pretty easy. Occasionally when filling a form I have to drop the hyphen but its never caused a major problem.

          Can’t give much advice on the hubby though. :-P

        • Re: husband (I’m S Asian too) – I’m inserting my last name as my son’s middle name and hubs is ok with that, but not with hyphenated last name:)

      • People use someone’s middle name when she asks them to.

        Another person’s name is not editorial or multiple choice. Think of the French– they don’t say “My name is…”, they say “I am called…” Period. An introduction is a datapoint, a fact, rather than a request or an apology.

        • You are describing what people SHOULD do, and I agree with you. However, I don’t think it happens this way as often as it should—and expecting people to do what they should do/ what you have instructed, in the face of plenty of evidence that many will not, is a recipe for frustration. Since this poster was thinking about it in advance, she might be able to avoid it.

          • Anonymous :

            I use her proposed formation and do not have problems. I use all 3 myself, universally (email, etc.) and others use all 3. It’s my name.

      • My parents gave me a hyphenated last name and I really love it. Yes, you do have to deal with computer sytems that don’t work, people who balk and writing down your whole name for messages, etc., but I also have a memorable name that connects to both sides of my family. While what I will do when I get married is a whole different conundrum, I say if you want to hyphenate go for it and don’t worry about the hastle.

    • It’s been my experience that people drop the middle name in day to day communications. Given your last sentence, I’d suggest you change your name legally but continue to go by FirstName MaidenName at work.

      • I did this too, fwiw — changed my last name to my middle name, took my husband’s name as my last name. When in the legal field I use the whole name (Katherine Vogele Griffin) — I had just gotten married when I left the firm so most of my legal/JD accomplishments were under my maiden name. For blogging purposes/byline purposes I only use my nickname and my husband’s last name — cleaner, crisper, easier to pronounce/remember, and the legal field/blogging field are far apart enough that whatever “cache” my maiden name/accomplishments had it just doesn’t matter in this field. But I will say that I hate hate HATE when people call me “Katherine Griffin” — it’s like a pseudonym I use as a shipping address or a name to leave on voicemail messages that I don’t care about; it’s not who I am. (And I hate it even more when people call me “Kathy Griffin,” but that’s another story entirely.) But it is a fight to keep the middle name.

    • I would just keep your birth name because I haven’t met anyone that successfully uses both the middle name and last name — that middle name gets dropped to an intitial, at best. Particularly with the name you described. But, I kept my own last name when I got married, so that’s the place I’m coming from.

    • Keep in mind that if you use both names, you will have to constantly spell both names. My maiden name was difficult and I took my husband’s name just for the simplicity!

    • I was worried about this as well. I ran my maiden name and my husband’s name into one word: Bridget KowalskiMalhotra (no hyphen). It has worked very well so far, except with some close friends and family who call me Bridget Kowalski or Bridget Malhotra. At work that isn’t a problem- everyone uses the combined last name.

    • This might be a bit off topic, but I was randomly reading wedding announcements in the NY Times recently and I was really impressed by how many women (about 3/4, if not more) were keeping their own names. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a woman choosing to take the husband’s name. But I do think it’s nice that it’s becoming so common to keep one’s own. My own personal take is that if my husband wants us to have the same last name, he can take mine. But, as far as the name thing goes, I think that maybe in 20 years or so, no one will be doing it very much anymore at all, and lots of women getting married today will be doing the hyphen or the middle name option, so all in all it will be a lot easier to get people to call you what you actually want to be called.

      • I agree! Whenever I meet a woman who has kept her last name I think “yeah!!”

      • I am a proponent of keeping one’s own last name and wrote a blog post about it recently.

        And in the NYTimes Weddings section for this past Sunday there is a man that is taking his new wife’s last name! I’d like to know the story behind it. The marriage is listed under Joanna Slusky and David Gershkoff. There is also a lesbian couple where one of the partners is changing her last name to that of the other.

        • That’s really interesting. Keeping my name is one thing I’ve never regretted — even after having children, it’s been really, really simple and I’ve never had any problems with it. My husband has, however, and has been referred to as Mr. Mylastname on more than one occasion. :)

    • If I understand correctly, you want to have two last names, not use your maiden name as a middle name (i.e. you want to be called Bridget or Ms. Kowalski Malhotra, not Bridget Kowalski or Ms. Malhotra).

      I know many women who have two last names and, at least in professional settings, they are addressed by their full two last names. If this is what’s shown on your office email, caller ID, door nametag, and business card, that’s what people will call you. So make sure all those things are changed and insist that they show your name as you want it.

      However, in personal matters, if you take your husband’s last name at all it’s very likely you will end up being referred to as the Malhotras or as Mrs. Malhotra. If you want to insist that you are addressed by both last names in personal affairs too, I would suggest hyphenating rather than using two last names.

    • North Shore :

      Watch out if you travel. Airlines & security are now really strict about names on tickets. I go by First Maiden Last, but the Maiden becomes a middle initial on a lot of official IDs, such as my drivers license. One airline’s frequent flier program merged my names, however, so it’s First Maidenlast. Then I had a problem when they issued me a ticket with a last name that did not match my ID.

      Seems to me that lot of computer-input places cannot handle two last names, unless you hyphenate them and enter them both in the “last name” box, or merge them with no spaces.

      After 15 years of marriage, I’ve mostly gone the way of Emily I (above). I have First Maiden Last as my professional name, but just generally use First Last, as my husband’s name is significantly shorter and easier, and I just don’t care much anymore.

      For what it’s worth, I kept my middle name, too, on my Social Security card, so I have 4 official names. No way to put that on IDs or taxes, so the original middle name is almost completely dropped now. For cultural reasons, we gave my children two middle names each when they were born, both on the birth certificate. This will undoubtedly cause them form-filling headaches in the future.

    • The way I see it, you have 2 options:

      1. Stick with your last name (no change)
      2. hyphenated last name (e.g. Kowalski-Malhotra) This may ‘sound’ weird since there’s a lot of cultural disparity between the sound of S Asian & EE names…

  12. Question: I’m a summer associate with a business casual (on the casual side – the men wear jeans + button downs) dress code.

    I have a dress that hits me right at the top of my knee when I’m standing, which is fine – but when I sit it rides up so it’s about 5-6″ above the knee. Is that too short to wear to work?

    I would have either bare legs or black tights – hose would be weirdly formal.

    • If in doubt, don’t wear it. The formality of an office, IMO, has little to do with how short your skirt/dress can be.

    • I wear skirts that ride up this high when I sit all the time, but there’s no danger of it exposing anything I don’t want others to see. If you’re particularly short and 5-6″ is scandalous (or particularly tall and 5-6 extra inches makes you look like you’re exposing a loooooot of skin), I wouldn’t do it. But I think for most average-height women this is a pretty typical skirt length.

    • I think that’s the normal skirt length and wouldn’t worry about it unless you’re going to have your legs fully exposed while sitting. If you’re at a desk, no one should really be looking at how short your skirt is when you sit.

    • I’ve seen a woman with a skirt that rode up to ‘short’ shorts level. It was awful. She KEPT tugging at it like a lifeline in her meetings with top bosses (I could see her whenever I passed by the glass door – tugging away for dear life) and it looked awful.

      So it depends on you. I’d play safe. But if you do decide to wear it, do so with confidence.

  13. I wouldn’t stress. If you continue to use two names to refer to yourself, most other people will follow suit. Hillary worked very hard publicly to drop the Rodham since polling showed that it turned off certain sectors of Americans. It was not something that happened naturally.

  14. Ballerina Girl :

    I just started as an attorney at a non-profit organization. I’m about 5-7 years younger (and about 10 years junior in terms of experience) from my next-up fellow attorneys. I’m about 5-7 years older than the law interns and paralegal. The attorneys are not very social in terms of having lunch together, etc. and I’ve recently been joining the younger crowd for lunch.

    I don’t want to be anti-social, but I also don’t want to be cast along with the intern/paralegal group since I’m trying to establish myself here as an attorney. I try to refrain from too much in-office chatting in the area where they all sit and strive to dress more professionally than I probably need to. But that said, would it be better for me to eat at my desk than create that association?

    I don’t want to sound snobby–I’m not at all–but I really don’t want to be seen as any more junior than I already am.

    • I had a similar experience as a law clerk in a firm with three partners and one associate attorney, who was much older. There was also a gender thing going on, but it made the secretaries think I was their new BFF. Very nice people who I liked personally, but I already felt marginalized in the office (no true office space, where other (male) clerks had “real” offices)

      I tried to be polite but not overtly friendly, i.e. if they started a conversation, I would engage, but I would not initiate. Also, one secretary thought that it was okay to tell me all the bad things she didn’t like about the other law clerks! I never understood that one, as those were my classmates she was speaking about!

    • Have you asked the attorneys if they want to go to lunch? I think it could pose a problem if you’ve just decided to go with the paralegal/interns without first approaching the attorneys. I know at my place we have a few shy attorneys who initially wouldn’t approach others about going to lunch, but once they were asked a few times they were more comfortable asking others.

    • I’d try to be a mentor to the interns, not a buddy. Don’t go out to nightly happy hour and hang out on the weekends. Otherwise you’ll seem immature or like you don’t act your age/professional level. But it’s fine to do lunch with them.

      As for the paralegals, I don’t see any problem with a workplace friendship. They’re professionals, you’re a professional. However, keep in mind that you will be supervising one or more of them, and conduct yourself accordingly. You don’t want to create problems later on where you might be viewed as playing favorites or where they might not take you as seriously as they take other supervisors.

      In the long run, though, your attorney colleagues will judge you based on the quality of your work, not on who you eat lunch with. And I second the recommendation to invite your attorney colleagues for work or happy hour – it may not end up being a regular thing, but it’s perfectly natural for you to want to get to know your new coworkers.

    • Ballerina Girl :

      I should add that I occasionally go out to pick up lunch with one of the other attorneys (there are only two) and the other is usually on calls all day, etc. So it does go both ways, but one has been preparing for an argument day and night and is much busier than the rest of us, which is why I’ve been getting lunch with the others. Also, we have an outdoor area where we like to eat and it’s nice to take a break and get some sun for 20 min–but I doubt the other atty would want to take the break. (There’s no expectation here that I’d always work through my lunch.)

      Also, I do try to act as a bit of a mentor and usually spend lunch talking about my experiences as a lawyer, etc (i mean, other stuff, too!) and try to stay professional while being friendly. No happy hours or weekend fun! It’s just hard b/c if I don’t talk with them, there’s really no one else to talk with all day and it gets lonely!

  15. As much as I want to love skirts like this, I just can’t wear them. Uncomfortable!

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