Tuesday’s TPS Report: Leopard-Striped Cashmere Sweater

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

Leopard-Striped Cashmere SweaterI am loving the look of this cashmere sweater, on deep discount at Last Call by Neiman Marcus. The diagonal stripes are interesting (as is the fact that they’re a leopard print!) but the sweater itself is a subdued gray with a high crewneck. Lovely. I’d wear it with pearls and a pencil skirt, or perhaps a black scarf, knotted at the neck. It’s now $160 (was $299), still available in sizes M-XL. Leopard-Striped Cashmere Sweater

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  1. Not a fan. To me, it looks like the mannequin was run over multiple times by a dirt bike.

    • LOL!

    • I was going to say, it looks like the person wearing it did NOT have a good or pleasant morning commute. Tire treads is EXACTLY what I thought of for this print.

  2. If they had it in my size, it would be mine oh mine. But alas, they don’t.

  3. Does anyone besides me think its really tricky to find a good crewneck?
    I have some crewneck sweaters/tops that are cut just “so” & are incredibly flattering in the way that they frame my face & are my favorite to wear. Others, I try on & seemingly the same cut just cuts off my head in the most hideous way. I can’t figure out what it is. But I have a feeling this sweater is in the “not flattering” crewneck (at least on me) category.

    • I’ve seen that problem, too. I think that it has to do with how much fabric is between the top of the bust area and the neck (the correct amount of which probably varies based on how “well endowed” you happen to be).
      I’m very flat chested, and sometimes have seen crewnecks that seem to come too high on the neck, if that makes sense, and they feel and look horrible.

      On the other hand, my absolute favorite crewneck ever, that I will likely never find a repacement for, had a bad run in with my parent’s cat, and has now been regulated to “around the house only” wear. :(

      • I have the same problem. I’m…certainly not well endowed and I think I look best in v-necks. I try very hard to avoid crew necks.

    • surrounded by lawyers :

      I once read an interview with Tim Gunn in which he said almost nobody should buy a crewneck, because they are terrible on most of us. I had never even considered that–I always thought crewneck was the default! But he said turtleneck or v-neck is safer. I keep that in mind, though I don’t always follow it. Being short, I do need to worry about any kind of “cutting off” effect…

      In general, I find that showing a little bit of skin below my collar bone is more flattering. When it is really cold, however, sometimes I just can’t resist the impulse to cover it all.

    • I have stopped wearing crewnecks altogether because they are just not flattering.

    • Your question got me to thinking, and I’m not sure I own any crew necks at all anymore. I hate the expanse of so much fabric on my chest — not flattering on me, just draws unneeded attention to my chest. Some years ago, I just stopped trying them on and waiting for the magical ones. Hadn’t even noticed the lack in my wardrobe until just now!

    • I agree with this discussion (crewnecks look bad on me), but I am “well-endowed” as it were, so it’s a rather fine line between a crewneck and something that shows too much for work. Anyone have recommendations for high v- and scoopnecks?

      • SF Bay Associate :

        If you aren’t sized out, then Lands’ End or Brooks Bros make nice high Vs. I haven’t been able to buy anything at Ann Taylor or BR or Jcrew in a while because their Vs are so low. You might also try Talbot’s, which is supposed to have nice Vs.

  4. Sorry, this one is veering into old-lady territory as well. But that’s ok! Different taste is what makes the world go round! And it could look quite different on someone vs on the mannequin.

  5. Threadjack! :

    My apologies for the early threadjack!

    I am looking to order a few dresses from ASOS (some for work, some for play). It seems like they have a pretty good shipping and returns policy, but I hate having to deal with returns, so I am curious to see if I can get some feedback on the quality of the brand before ordering.

    I’ve known of the brand for a while and have heard good things regarding price and style, but now that I’m ready to order, I can’t find anyone who owns any of their dresses!

    I’m also looking for some guidance on sizing. The sizing on the site is U.S. sizing, which I like (only because, even though it’s so simple to convert, I sometimes get confused when ordering British sizes). I’m just wondering if the fit is similar to say, Banana Republic sizing.

    I know ASOS sells both their own brand and other brands, but FWIW, everything I’m looking at is ASOS brand. Thanks in advance for any help!

    • I have always liked the dresses on that site, but I’ve always been too nervous because it’s a British company. I would love any advice as well!

    • lawyergrrl :

      Hi — I ordered once recently from ASOS & was pretty happy with everything I received. I don’t know about their dresses specifically (I ordered a sweater and a coat, as well as a handbag). But the sizing on the two clothing items I purchased was spot-on (I’m a small/4 in BR world & didn’t modify my sizing for these items); both the sweater & jacket are ASOS brand. I really like the sweater especially. As I sit here, I can’t remember if it’s cashmere or just some super-soft something, but it is a good-looking (casual) top & I’ve received compliments on it each time I’ve worn it. I ended up giving the coat to my mom who LOVES it &, since I was only in like with it, it was an easy transfer. The coat wasn’t close to matronly or anything, but it was a khaki green my mom adores & it has a lot of subtle detailing that makes it special. All that to say, I’d give them a “very good” on quality. The free shipping back & forth to the UK is a big virtue. I didn’t return anything, but FWIW, I did eyeball the return label & it looked like it would not have been a big deal if I’d needed to send something back (like you, I can’t stand dealing with returns, so I appreciated that it seemed to be an easy-peasy process). If you order, I’ll be curious (and hopeful) about your purchase, so please do let us know how it goes!

      • Threadjack! :

        Thanks, lawyergrrl! I’ve ordered two work dresses and one to wear to holiday parties (and decided to throw in one of the infinity scarves/snoods as well). I’ll report back when they arrive!

    • I also can’t speak for their dresses but I have ordered shoes from ASOS (ASOS brand) when they were still only in the UK/Europe. Even back then the shipping was only $6 for two pairs of shoes (what’s the deal Jcrew???) and I had the impression that it would be very easy to return them. I loved the shoes though and got a pair for my sister and sister-in-law as well last Christmas because they were such a good deal. I would happily buy from them again, FWIW.

    • I have several dresses from ASOS for play, and i love all of them. They run a bit on the short side for me, but it’s never been an issue.

      • ASOS own brand is a bit rubbish in terms of quality – we’re talking about Forever 21 quality. The sizing is UK sizing…so I take about a 8/10 in the UK and about about a 4 in the US.

        • lawyergrrl :

          So interesting, Grump. The ASOS-brand items I received were definitely higher quality than Forever 21, which I love for the cheap & trendy but no way for keeper items. Hopefully Threadjack!’s experience won’t square with yours, as I’d hate to think I’d led her astray!

  6. Another early threadjack:
    Does anyone have advice on how to transition one’s work wardrobe (business casual in my case) in early pregnancy? I’m 13 weeks pregnant and have gained about 5 pounds in my chest and stomach. The chest part isn’t a problem yet fit-wise (I started out without a lot going on in that department), but yesterday was the first day that a pair of pants were tight and were more comfortable unbuttoned. Since it’s winter (I’m in NYC) in the coming months I figure I can just wear pants unbuttoned and wear a long-ish sweater over them, maybe with one of those bands of fabric (Bella Bands?) to hold up the pants and smooth things over under the sweater. I also will obviously gravitate towards my looser pants, skirts, etc. (yesterday’s pants were not in that category). I’m at a loss otherwise. I don’t think I’ll be ready for actual maternity wear for a while. Any tips are much appreciated!! Thanks so much!

    • And it’s really not a bad idea to buy some slightly bigger pants or elastic waistband skirts (some of which are quite flattering), and long shirts and sweaters, for this time. The skirts you can keep wearing til the end of the pregnancy even if they are not maternity, if you roll them under your belly. And the sweaters often can be worn too over maternity shirts. If you get them in all-season weight, you will find yourself wearing them post-baby too. I’m about to have baby #3, and I’ve gotten more wear out of these items over these years than almost any of my official maternity wear.

      • Ditto on this advice. Looser pants, ideally elastic-waist ones, will get you through until you need maternity clothes and will cover when you’re working your way back down post-partum.** Yeah, many of them are not the highest quality … but they will be a lifesaver. I never tried elastic waist skirts, but then again, my kiddos were winter babies and the idea of maternity tights/pantyhose was not appealing to me.

        Dresses are also a lifesaver — wrap dress, if it’s got enough fabric, is awesome. Look for things that have stretch and give you some flexibility.

        And CONGRATS!!

        ** Yeah, it sucks to think about it now … but there will be a period of going back down, when you’re not quite back into your old clothes. The stretchy stuff you wear now is awesome for that period, esp if you’ve already gone back to work.

    • No kids, but I’ve heard good things about Bella bands/similar things. I’ve heard they can help you to wear your old pieces of clothing for longer because I think they use elasticated fabric not only to cushion the tummy area, but also to keep unbuttoned pants/skirts held up and modest.

    • Just want to say congrats!

      • A bella band may work for you, but they didn’t really work for me. I did two things during that not quite ready for maternity wear stage. I wore a lot of non-maternity dresses (these also help to hide your tummy if you are not quite ready to tell work about your pregnancy). If you are wearing pants that button, you can use double-looped hair ties that go around the button and then around the button hole to make your pants larger in the waist. This worked for me until my hips started getting bigger.

        • Strongly second this.
          – Bella bands didnt work for me, I found them uncomfortable and when I wore my pants unbuttoned below them, the button would dig into my tummy when I sat down. Not worth it.
          – I followed some advice to buy 1-2 size larger pants and wear those, but I outgrew that within a month or so and needed to size up once more, I think that was a bad idea.
          – I suggest wearing rubber bands or hair ties etc to keep the loops closed if you can, wearing non-maternity dresses as much as possible initially, and when you have to give it up, go ahead and buy maternity pants with the stretchy waistband (full panel). You can wear those for months and they are comfy.

    • Preggo Angie :

      Try Bella Bands, and if you can swing it, leave your suit jackets open. Unfortunately, not a whole lot of good options when it comes to the maternity suit selection, but I’ve had some great luck at maternity consignment stores in my area. Also, buying a few non-maternity items in bigger sizes is a good idea b/c you’ll need some transition items post-baby.

    • I second the recommendation to buy some looser non-maternity pants. Depending on how long your maternity leave will be, you might need them when returning to work. Skirts and dresses are much more forgiving (but require tights or stockings in the cold, which can pinch your midsection).

    • Nearing Due Date :

      Bella Band was good for me, but early on I mainly wore dresses. Also, if you’re going to buy a maternity suit, buy it earlier rather than later. You’ll get more mileage out of it. The Bella Band can help keep up too big maternity clothes in early pregnancy. Final advice — try to borrow maternity items from friends.

    • I recommend the Bella Band – I have one in every color and they work really well (currently I’m 18 weeks and I’ve been using them since about 14 weeks) for me, and I’ve been told they are great for post-partum as well. I also have some looser skirts (I bought them right before I found out I was pregnant and had purposely ordered bigger in order to have them tailored … now I guess I’ll just wait til after my pregnancy and all of that to get that done) that are working really well, so I would recommend looser pants and skirts (this will probably be very helpful after the baby is born too), and I’m a big dress-wearer, and those have all been great (I wear lots of unstructured, sweater-type dresses – very casual office environment) as far as comfort, and I think they look fine too.

    • I would buy some pants a size or two bigger, and those can also be your postpartum pants. :)

    • I found maternity clothes didn’t really work too soon in the pregnancy, they hung funny until I was seriously showing, so for me I really needed to buy some larger sized regular clothing – straight sheath type dresses and other forgiving cuts with jackets or cardigans for the most part – until I fit better in the maternity wear. Definitely go low end on those things, you will despise them all by the end of your pregnancy. Most of my friends passed around their maternity wear too and were happy to see it used, even by friends of friends of friends.

    • With my first pregnancy, I hit Old Navy and bought a good variety of pants in 1, 2 and 3 sizes larger. I had to hem the bottoms a little, but the price was right and I used them for both of my pregnancies, on the way up and down in size. They lasted fine and are now being lent to other pregnant colleagues. I also had good luck finding transition clothes at TJ Maxx, JC Penney and Ross. Bigger sheath dresses can be loosely belted.

    • Thanks so much for all of the great Corporette advice and the well wishes! I will soon start hunting for some larger pants/skirts and am going to check out the Bella Band — maybe it will work for me, maybe not. Thanks again!

      • I used the rubber band option with good results. Also, just wear the same black pants and mix up your tops during this period.

  7. This sweater is, um… very “artistic.” Aside: Kat, could *you* be losing your Corporette’dness at your new job!? I likes! I think your style is evolving and pushing us working gals beyond our gray cashmere sweater-dom and 2″ “sensible” black granny pumps ;-)

  8. Threadjack –

    Just found out I will be attending some meetings at a very conservative bank and none of my suits fit me!

    I’ve gained a lot of weight (30 lbs) since I bought the suits, and while I am working at losing it, the last time they fit me was when I was 10 lbs lighter than I am now.

    Sooo…a few questions

    – Suggested brands for a conservative suit that will look nice, but be less than $300?

    – Can I get away with wearing the same suit 2 days in row, assuming that it is a basic black or charcoal and I wear a different sweater underneath or perhaps add a broach one day? I would prefer not to wear a skirt suit as they are uncomfortable to me, and I find skirts make me look pretty huge as I have large hips.

    – As I am actively losing weight (down 11 already!) and want to lose about 15 more, can I expect to be able to tailor these new suits? 15 lbs is not a ton of weight, perhaps one size I am thinking? It may make me willing to pay more for the suit/s, assuming I will still be able to wear it after I lose the rest of the weight.


    • Try Tahari ASL, which you can find at Filene’s or Macy’s (or similar stores), often on sale for under $100. I think it’s fine to wear the same suit two days in a row with different tops and accessories.

      Yes, you should be able to have a suit tailored to make it one or two sizes smaller. A skirt suit will be easier and cheaper to tailor.

    • surrounded by lawyers :

      I’ll just answer the last question: it depends entirely on how tall you are. 15 lbs on me would probably equal a change of 3 sizes because I am short. I’d suggest that you judge based on the sizes you wore in the past–i.e. the differential between sizes as related to pounds’ difference.

    • Check out Macy’s suit section- they often have specials for $99/suit and carry a lot of acceptable brands for ‘lower range’ suits like Calvin Klein/ASL Tahari/Nine West. There are almost always plenty of very conservative options on the racks there, and you’ll probably find good prices now in the post-Thanksgiving sales world. Also check out TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and Burlington Coat Factory; they carry similar brands for about the same price or less.

      In terms of getting the suit tailored for when you lose weight, I would say it depends on your size/the size you’re getting down to. If you’re very small (say, going from 135lb to 120), those 15lb. might actually be 2-3 sizes depending on where the weight is coming off from, which might make the suits harder to tailor. But if you’re going from say, 185 to 170, that probably is only a size and so a little nip and tuck here and there could be easier.

      I’m going to suggest though potentially buying a cheaper suit and maybe not tailoring it? Just in case you end up fluctuating weight again in the near future, or even just to have something for ‘heavier’ days, it might be good to have a go-to option and not have to repeat the process over again. But, I say this as somebody who fluctuates a lot in that smaller weight area and thus has clothes ranging everywhere fom 2 to 8, and I just wear the selection of things that fit me in a given time period, along with closesting the pieces that are ‘too small for now’ and occaisionally wearing the pieces that are ‘too big for now’ by belting/layering/etc.

    • Another Sarah :

      – Brands: Bbros (normally not less than $300, but ’tis the season for mondo sales, so you might find something), JCrew, Banana, also try Macy’s suit section – I haven’t seen much that is more than $200.

      -Yes, especially if it is a basic suit. Unless you spill something on it.

      -Yes, all suits are able to be tailored. I’ve heard some tailors say they can’t take in darts on a jacket if the jacket is lined, and I’m pretty convinced that it’s just because they don’t know how/don’t have time. Once I switched tailors, it was no big deal. It cost $$, but it was completely doable. Keep in mind that if you go down a complete size in both the jacket and the bottom and the entire suit needs to be tailored, the tailoring alone might cost almost as much as the suit new. But it depends a lot on how you lose weight and how the suit fits on you after you lose it. :-)

    • I like Eponine’s advice. I’ll add that if the suits are unlined they are cheaper to tailor down.

      Whether 15 lbs difference is one size or more depends on your body and how much of your extra weight you carry in your mid section. For me- when I went from 127 to 167, I went from a size 2 pants to a 12. My goal is to get back to 127 and so far I am down 15 lbs to 152 and now wear an 8-10. I am making do with my 12’s as long as I can before I have to buy a size or two down or get my work pants and skirts tailored.

    • Op here –

      Thank you all so much!

      I am going to check out Macy’s – I see online lots of good deals on Tahari, Ann Klein and Calvin Klein that look conservative and appropriate (although nothing is wool, hopefully that won’t be noticable?). I am going to go over to the store and try some one. I did check TJ Maxx a few weeks ago but didn’t find anything there.

      The suits I currently have are from J. Crew and the pants are a size 2 (jacket size 4). I have some blazers in 6’s from BR that are tight when buttoned. So…I am guessing that I need an 8 on top and a 4/6 on the bottom (I am down to a size 4 in pants from BR and Ann Taylor). I weigh 140 right now, and when I bought the suits I was 115/120. I know I wore one of them to an interview when I was at 13oish, but it was TIGHT, and it was several years ago, so that sizing may not even be valid anymore compared to how much larger sizes seem to be getting (meaning, I may think to myself, I wear a 4 now and that old suit is a 2, but really that is a 2 from 8-10 years ago which very well might be comparable to a zero or 00 now. I guess that makes me realize how old those suits really are, so perhaps it is just time for new ones…although the same classic style seems to still be offered on the J Crew website and I don’t think the suits look dated at all (just basic wool pants suits). My blazers are more current, but again, a bit tight. I am shorter too, for those who asked (5′ 3”) but I am very small framed, so I seem to fit in much smaller sizes compared to others my size/weight.

      Thanks again – definately going to take the advice and go for 1 cheaper suit. I can donate it (or keep it one hand for the future) when I lose the rest of this weight.

  9. I’d buy some new suits for my current sizes and take in/alter my older, expensive suits that are too big. Donate the cheap ones. IMHO, alterations are a major hassle (trying on for the tailor, putting on heels, walking out, pinning, shuffle shuffle, repeat) & are expensive.

  10. Love this sweater. To me it does not even look like leopard, because not leopard colors, just a very pretty pattern. I would wear to work with a black pantsuit. Not to court.

  11. Is it possible or financially feasible to have a tailor replace the lining of a wool coat? The lining of my good black coat is shredded, and I was hoping to get another couple of years’ wear out of it. The coat needs to be taken in anyway (bought it about three sizes ago), so is it fixable or do I need to go shopping for a new one?

    • lawyerette :

      My experience fixing wool coats is that it’s totally doable technically, but financially probably not worth it. Depending on the cut of the coat, 3 sizes ago might be too much to take in too. I took one short wool coat in 2 sizes and it was about $150 to do so, the lining was fine too. I’d take it to a trusted tailor but depending on how much your coat cost originally and how much you love it, you might just want to get a new one and donate this one.

      • I actually only need it taken in at the waist – the shoulders and chest still fit fine and it’s supposed to be fuller at the bottom. I want to nip in the waist to give it a more 1940s silhouette, so if my regular tailor can do it it’s worth it to me. (Not to mention I don’t have the money to buy a new one if I want to get Christmas presents for anybody!)

        Thanks for your advice – sounds like I need to ask around and get some prices.

    • As a related question, any idea what the costs of fixing just the lining would be (no other alterations)? Mine has holes in the pockets and one sleeve is ripping at the armhole but the coat is otherwise in pristine condition and I’d like a few more seasons out of it.

    • maine susan :

      I always get the lining replaced once before I ditch a coat. Shopping for coats is not my favorite shopping and a new lining means several more years wear. And I wear my winter coat every day from mid November through at least Mid March.

    • Yes, and it should be pretty cheap if all you’re doing is replacing the lining – $20-30.

      • Oh, didn’t read closely. Getting it taken in will be expensive. Unless you adore the coat and can’t find a similar one, it’ll be easier to donate the old one and buy a new one.

    • I’ll piggyback onto this question because my question is related: has anyone ever replaced the lining on pants?
      In my inimitable stylish fashion I stepped on the lining when I was getting into my pants, and then tried to pull said pants up, which resulted in a great big rip in the lining. (I proceeded to wear them the rest of the day anyway, since who can see the lining? They are dark pants and a silky lining.)
      Oh, and I might add – I’ve actually done this exact thing to two pairs of pants, not one.

  12. ThreadJacking :

    Remember 5 years ago, when law and medicine were thought to be recession proof industries? Well, my brother got laid off from BigLaw in 2007, and yesterday my husband got laid off from his medical group (he’s a cardiologist)

    We’re pretty bummed. On the up side, I make a decent living and we’ve been living beneath our means, so we don’t have to worry about mortgage, cars, etc. We’ve also been playing with the idea of a big lifestyle change, moving out of our city and to a more recreationally friendly area (we LOVE the outdoors). This is going to force our hand, and make us go beyond our comfort zone, and I think in the longrun, it’ll be better.

    It’s anxiety provoking, and a little nerve-wracking. One thing I’ve noticed is that we’re so used to the 24-7 internet cycle, that it’s hard to be patient about job opportunities. But I think if we hang in there, something will happen.

    I know some of you have been out of work or out of your chosen field for a long time. I’m hopeful the economy’s recovering slowly, and that we’ll all be better off in a year.

    • I’m sorry that your husband got laid off but wow, I admire your perspective and attitude!

  13. LOL. AEK, I’d have to agree with you. I just can’t get behind animal prints. Especially at work.

  14. Threadjack! :

    Sorry for the oddly placed reply. (I am on my cell.)

    Grump, I am hoping ASOS’ quality has changed since you last shopped there, since all of the others have had good experiences! Also, while I’m not expecting excellent quality, I am expecting quality that matches the pricepoint and the pricepoint is 2-3 times F21, so still not expensive, but not as cheap, either! Oh well, if I find the quality is poor, there is free shipping both ways!

    As for the sizing, it’s pretty explicitly stated that they actually go by US sizes on their US site. I was more curious as to whether say, a US 10 in ASOS fits similarly to a Banana 10.

    To the others, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I hope my experiences is more similar to yours than Grump’s!