Tuesday’s TPS Report: Super 120s banquette dress

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

Super 120s banquette dressOK: Let’s all agree to ignore the styling (unless you have something really witty to say, in which case, bring it on).  Still:  this is a fabulous dress.  Love the sleeves, the darts in the “fitted bodice,” the slight A-line to the skirt — and the fact that it comes in this lovely blue, as well as two different colors of gray, black, and even a navy pinstripe.  Fabulous.  It’s $178 at JCrew.com ($188 for the pinstripe), in regulars and petites.  Super 120s banquette dress

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  1. SF Bay Associate :

    The Banquette has a very low neckline which necessitates a scarf or cami. I tried on last year’s version and the neckline was so low that, standing straight, I could see my bra band at the bottom of my bra in the V. I really debated a while about buying it anyway because it fit pretty well, but with the too-low neckline and not quite enough room in the hips for me, I had to pass.

    One of the ways the associate at the store styled it was to layer it with a frances-type cami. That looked nice and solved the neckline problem, but I didn’t want to have to worry about layering every time I wore it. And still with the hips :).

    I think this dress was recently reviewed on J. Crew Aficionada as well.

    • I have another JCrew dress with the same deep-v problem, although it didn’t have sleeves, so I ended up getting it shortened at the top of the straps.

  2. The styling is like a mullet, business up top party on the bottom. Socks with mary janes?! I hope this isn’t some new trend that I’ll have to see in the office.

    • i'm nobody :

      don’t worry about it. [rhetorical question alert!] since when have publicists’ or stylists’s versions of business fashion mirrored the actual workplace?

  3. So, are you saying you would pair this with flesh-colored socks, to elongate her leg?

  4. I really like this dress, even though it would obviously need a cami. I just wish that J. Crew worked for my body. Alas, it is not generally forgiving to my post-twins self.

  5. Threadjacking early :

    I actually dislike this dress, although I can’t put my finger on why. I think I just personally don’t like the way the v-neck would sit on my body?
    Sorry to threadjack so early, but I am really frustrated and could use some Corporette support.

    I gained some weight this summer due to a combination of stressful situations. I was not overweight before this and I am not overweight now (just visibly heavier), but in the three days since I arrived home for family vacation, my mother has mentioned this on the average of three times a day. I have tried to head off her comments as best as possible (explaining that I’m aware of the weight gain and that my situation will change in fall), but she KEEPS. BRINGING. IT. UP. Any time I’m about to eat something, she asks, “are you sure that’s healthy enough?” “maybe you should think about portion control”, etc. She has also twice offered to buy me “drawstring pants that fit”.

    AAAARGH. I love my mother, but this is driving me up a wall. I should note that neither of us have ever really struggled with our weights, and that I think that these comments are coming from a really well-meaning if untactful place.

    Any advice as to how I can head off these comments or, at the least, find my moment of zen while she speaks?

    • Did you tell her not to bring it up? Whenever something my parents bring up is driving me crazy, I just call truce and let them know that I really don’t want to hear about it, even if I can *see* them thinking about it. If they really have a pressing urge to discuss a certain subject, I told them to pick one day of the week and they can go on all day about it then, but not the rest of the week. Took some “training” but it’s given our relationship room to breathe.

    • my only suggestion is that you take her aside, and tell her some version of “I know you are speaking from a place of love and concern for me, but I really need you to stop focusing on my eating habits and weight. I am on top of this and have a plan to get to a healthier weight laid out for myself, and during this visit these comments are only adding to my stress. Thanks for your concern and I love you and know you love me but please trust me to handle this and let’s enjoy this visit”

      • Totally agree with this poster. This is an adult way of handling your mom– If you can have this conversation with her you will likely find that you and your mom will be taking your relationship to a new “adult” level rather than her still treating you like a little girl.

        • Depends on the mom. No number of attempts at actual adult conversations will ever bring my mother and me to a point where we relate as adults. Still agree that Michelle’s approach is a good one, probably the one I’d use.

          • This. If your mom normally doesn’t pick at stuff about you, I think the Michelle response makes lots of sense (and gives her the benefit of the doubt). But if she does try to ‘fix’ you (just never before about weight), I think you can either try to summon your inner Zen Master (this is what my husband does with his mother, who does this constantly — which is why we don’t see his parents a lot!), or be a bit dismissive/mocking of her.

    • I stuggled with weight in my pre-teens, and although I am not thin I am happy with my body. My mother made the same kind of comments to me when I was younger, including “I’ll buy something like that for you when you’re skinnier”. So one day I told her “You are the only one who ever brings up my weight, I never get teased about it, so why do you insist on bringing it up?”.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      My mother is the same way but about pimples!!!!! I have very clear skin so anytime I get a big ole zit she will say “oh my, you are breaking out right there.” But not let it go. “Oh I wonder why you are suddenly getting pimples.” “Have you tried x, y, z?” An hour later, “have you eaten anything different lately?” “don’t forget to get some cover up for that pimple.” Drives me batty.

      • Haha, my dad is the same way. Every time…”what’s that?” or “what happened?” “Why do you get that?” “Is it going to leave a scar?”

        • naijamodel :

          I have bad skin, and if my parents did that I think I might strangle them, lol! (Don’t worry, they pick on tons of other stuff ;-) )

    • My mom is exactly like this. Can’t just let things go. I try to take the “in one ear, out the other” approach since you can’t change other peoples’ behaviors, only your own. Since you already told her that you are aware of it, I would just pull out the same standard reply (e.g., “Don’t worry about it Mom”) and then change the subject, and try not to dwell on it. The more you listen to it, the worse it will make you feel and I have blown up on my mom multiple times, only to feel bad about it and apologize to her after a drawn out, emotional conversation that was totally unnecessary. You have my sympathies.

    • Mothers! They’re fabulous.

      I’d tell mine in no uncertain terms to STFU, but my guess is that in 99% of families this would result in screaming and tears. So unless you’re my sister, instead I’d say, calmly, “I am an adult and I can take care of myself. If you continue these comments I will have to cut my vacation short and return home.” And if she keeps it up, cut your vacation short and return home. She’ll probably apologize before you can finish packing.

      If that’s too extreme for you, I’d ignore her comments and reply with something like “pass the gravy” or “Anyone else want a second scoop of ice cream?” The extra calories will be worth the hilarity of seeing the look on her face.

      Vacations are supposed to be good for your mental health. You don’t need to put up with this.

      • Haha – the “pass the gravy” reminds me of a response I like to use. Whenever my parents give me a hard time re: “when are you getting married,” I usually rub my belly affectionately and say something like “well, with the baby on the way, I should probably marry someone” (I’m not pregnant). It always ends the conversation and has the added bonus of amusing me.

        • LOL. I tell my mother regularly that I am on the Bethenney Frankel life plan. As I’m 27, this does not amuse her. =)

          • I’m not getting this reference, could you explain?
            I did google her, but the Wiki entry is not shedding further light. :)

          • Bethenney Frankel was on the “Real Housewives of NY,” and had her own spin-off show called “Bethenney Getting Married?” Basically, she just had her first child at 39, and the baby was conceived before she was married, with marriage to the biological father of her child (her then boyfriend) occurring 7 months into the pregnancy.

            I love her, but her life plan may make more conservative mothers shudder a bit. =)

      • This sounds like the David Sedaris story where, on one Thanksgiving visit home, his sister (Amy) wore the bottom half of a fat suit to freak out their dad.

    • This makes me really appreciate my ultra-supportive mother. I am way more critical of myself than she would ever think of being to me and she’s the one who gives me the encouragement to stop that thought pattern. I’m truly sorry you have this to contend with but you shouldn’t have to-it’s rude. Maybe she still sees you as 8 years old and can’t cut the apron ties- or she’s trying to live vicariously through you (“you have to make head cheerleader so I can look cool….”). Maybe you could say something like “I can’t believe it’s been x years since I turned 21 (or graduated from college, or…). You could also ask her if she would say that to a co-worker or tennis buddy. If that doesn’t work, make the vacations much shorter or go elsewhere, as unappealing as that sounds.

    • Threadjacking early :

      Thanks all, for the support!

      The best was when I came down to breakfast this morning to discover that she’d left a book entitled “Mindful Eating” at my plate. :)

      (Not disparaging the book, mind you, but it’s not a lesson I need. I know damn well what I’m eating!)

      I will do my best to talk to her calmly about it when not in front of others. We’re about to embark on a no-electricity zone, so I won’t be able to report back this week. I’ll let you know if anything interesting happens! ;)

      • makes you want to write something titled “Mindless Eating”, doesn’t it?

        • Not only have I written it, it is the code I live my life by. ha-ha.

          Seriously, “Mindful Eating” is a great book written by my nutritionist’s colleague. Does not sound like Threadjack Early needs it, but it might help someone who struggles with stress eating.

      • So sorry. Sounds horrible. Good luck.

      • Makeup Junkie :

        I don’t think there is anything wrong with telling your mother that while you appreciate her concern, she is making you feel worse about the situation.
        Good luck! I struggle with weight and anytime someone comments on it, I stress-eat myself another 5 pounds.

      • Wow! I would have blown up by this time had it been my mum. How about you pick on her (so she gets a taste of her own medicine)?

        I’d give her one last chance before packing up and cutting the vacation short. And telling her the reason for it.

      • Even though your mom’s intentions probably are good, it sounds like the best thing you can do is just be blunt and straight forward. If she brings it up, maybe say something like “I know and I’ve heard everything you’ve said, but I really don’t want to hear about it anymore” or “I feel like I’m being picked on and it’s really pissing me off”. And if she brings it up again, stick to your guns – lather, rinse, and repeat.
        Not to be crude, but it sounds like your mom isn’t getting that this is bothering you and she probably needs to be smacked over the head with it to realize it.

    • My mom did this to me as a child, so much so that I ended up with an eating disorder. You’d think after paying for three years of therapy she would have gotten a clue, but nope. She still brings up my weight on occasion, she’s just learn to couch it in terms of “but I’m concerned about your health!”

      This is an extremely juvenile and unhealthy way of dealing with it, but I’ve tried the mature, healthy tactics many posters have suggested and not had any success. This is an ingrained behavior pattern and it’s not going to change by me reasoning with my mom. Now, if she brings up that
      “so-and-so lost so much weight on this new Cabbage Diet – it’s amazing how much better she looks with just a little dieting!” I will say “yeah, and have you seen her mom? She looks so much younger because she got that facelift! I think it’s so great when older women can admit they would look so much better with just a little work!” Comments about “oh, that outfit would look so cute on you if you were just a little smaller” are met with a response of “yeah, and look at this cute sweater! – oh, but the neckline’s a little too low for you, you know, with your neck wattle and everything.” As I said – juvenile. Mean-spirited. Emotionally immature. But she shuts up, because guess what? It’s not nice to point out what’s wrong with someone else’s appearance and it makes them feel bad. She’s finally getting back a little of what I’ve been getting since I was 5 years old, and she seems to be dialing it down with the criticism. As my late, great grandma once said – when someone is overweight, they know it. It doesn’t do any good to make them feel bad about it; they already feel bad. I know I’m overweight and I’m working on it. The comments from my mom aren’t needed, any more than she needs comments about how old she looks. Best of luck in dealing with your mom, and big hugs to you.

    • “She has also twice offered to buy me “drawstring pants that fit”.”

      Wow. The other posters have some great ideas, I just wanted to say, wow and good luck. Let us know how it goes!!

  6. Kat, what are you saying? I LOVE the styling, reminds me fondly of my not-awkward-whatsoever junior high school days ;)

    • Now if only the model was wearing TWO pairs of layered slouch socks in contrasting colors to match her outfit…

  7. This is very Mad Men. Would work for a woman with a PERFECT figure. Very unforgiving. Also, this is a color that is off-base for some. Nice backdrop for really good jewelry. But with my lifestyle, there is absolutely nowhere I would/could/ should wear it. It looks like some thing I cold make in two hours at the sewing maching if I had the pattern. No trim, no “dressmaker details” to derail me. Relevance for the 2010 workplace? Zero, I think.

    • All women have PERFECT figures. It’s clothes that are imperfect.

      • I like this. I’m going to quote you =).

        • Anonymous :

          Thanks! I didn’t steal it per se, but it’s the general sentiment expressed on many body-acceptance and fashion blogs like Already Pretty, Fatshionista, and others I’m sure I’m forgetting.

      • Love this!! I like the dress actually, and love the colour.

    • i'm nobody :

      your definition of “PERFECT” also excludes anyone over 5’6″. a dress that hits a J. Crew model’s knees is mid-thigh on me.

    • Really? I find that bodices shaped like that are super flattering for my not-perfect pear shaped body. I don’t generally wear J Crew, so I have no idea how much disillusionment they have with measurements, though.

      • Another anon :

        Your pear-shaped body is just perfect! Yum, pears. And hips are sexy and feminine.

      • I’m a pear too, and JCrew most definitely does not flatter my body type. Their clothes are cut for a much straighter figure, particularly their skirts.

  8. Like the concept a lot, but the fact that on that svelte model there is odd folding, pulling (is that the tell-tale dip of the bellybutton I see?), and shadowing around the stomach makes me weary. The light gray is very ‘Mad Men’ and I could see Joan wearing it (with a more demure neckline of course).
    I’ve noticed a few people on this site saying they don’t like having to constantly layer, but practically every dress/top I own needs some sort of cami underneath it to cover cleavage (I’m a large C, but I need a neckline to be nearly at my collarbone). I’ve been thinking about investing in those bandeau bra-covers so I don’t get the odd gathering of the cami around my waist, anyone used them/have suggestions?

    • I have actually had nice, complementary fabric sewn on to some of my dresses in lieu of a cami/bandeau cover. It’s a super simple alteration, saves me the trouble of ever thinking about the problem once I do it, and looks much nicer in my opinion (no vibe of “this would be totally inappropriate but I added a cami!)

      I highly recommend this.

      • Ooh I love this idea! I’ve never seen it done – can you explain a little more? E.g., do you buy the fabric yourself and take it to the tailor? Do you use white so it looks like a cami or some other color? And does it look noticeably like an alteration?

        • I have done this with both work and non work dresses.
          With non work, I have done whatever suits my whims (including funky blue lace on one).
          For work though, I either go with a dark solid in black , gray or navy (a yard will last you forever for this purpose) or sometimes if the hem is long enough and all I need is a bit of fabric for a too-low “v”, I’ve just had the tailor undo the hem and take that fabric from there if the hem allows.
          The best way to do it is to just take a work dress to a nice fabric shop & try out a few fabrics to see what works in terms of both color and texture. For anyone in the NY tri state area — I go to Mood Fabrics in NYC, and they actually even have fine suiting fabrics — for one dress, I actually found a nice corresponding wool that looks amazingly identical (at the shop, they sell to many of the brands that we buy & some items can be matched perfectly if you tell them who makes your dress).
          Btw, I think white would look really nice, but I usually keep my work dresses much longer than I’ve ever been able to hang on to my white tee-shirts, so I’ve been weary of doing anything white for fear it will start to gray/yellow, or just get stained. I also generally like darker camis b/c on my breasts, white is just a little too “look at me!” :)
          But do try this! It saves me a ton of hassles in the morning!

      • I would, but as I’m still going through school the neckline I need for work is not the neckline I want to wear on a day-to-day basis outside of work. And as I am fortunate to be in a biz casual office many of the summery dresses I wear to work I also wear outside of work sans high cami neckline.
        Don’t worry, I promise I’m not taking the dress I wore to the club on the weekend, throwing a cami under it and going to work. :)

        This will work for the few dresses I have that are strictly work though, thanks!

      • I totally agree. It might even work if you buy an extra long version of the dress (for me it’d be a “regular” size since I’m 5’3″) and get fabric from the hem to put in the v-neck.

        • You could totally do this too — and for the shorter among us, it’s a good way to use the extra fabric that needs trimming anyway.

        • If only. At 5’10 the ‘Long’ sizes are sometimes barely enough!

    • Has anyone tried Cami Secret? I’ve been on the verge of ordering them for about a month but have hesitated so far. If anyone has them, does the lace look nice or tacky? I think it’s a great idea, especially for hot sticky weather when you don’t want to wear another layer, but just haven’t been able to pull the trigger yet.

      • Those remind me of this one What Not To Wear episode on which a woman would fold a white handkerchief diagonally into a triangle and tuck it into her bra straps like the Cami Secret. Stacy and Clinton were mortified.
        I feel like, while useful, that could easily create some wardrobe malfunctions, I would feel safer with an all-around bandeau, personally.

      • I have looked at these — they seem a great idea in theory, but every version of them is tacky looking to me. I would not wear them. I’m still on the hunt.

    • The svelte, unhappy looking model is undoubtedly more flat tummied than I, yet there is some ‘too clingy on the belly thing’ going on there that would probably look AWFUL on my real world belly, never mind the hips. And there is the boob, I mean, neckline thing. Pass.

  9. I’ll have to wait till this dress hits ebay/outlets. I think if I bought the size that fit my chest it would be swimming everywhere else so it would need some serious tailoring. I like it a lot though and would probably pay for the tailoring if I got the dress for $75 or so (what Jcrew suiting dresses can be found for on ebay) and then I would take a 1-2″ piece of the fabric and put it in between the V-neck so I could wear it without a cami. Maybe it’s all too complicated but in theory I really love it.

  10. Thanks so much for sharing the high fashion geezer socks – they made my day! Next time my feet get cold at work, I’ll stuff my ankle-sock clad feet into my heels, and say, “But I saw this look at J. Crew!” :)

    • I agree. I think J. Crew marketters have lost touch with the professional women who buy their clothes. I looked through their catalogue recently and their outfits were laughable.

    • Yes! I am so tired of seeing my go-to brands (1) increase their price point, (2) decrease their quality and (3) change their styling to things I can never wear in the office.

      I was looking at my 5 -year old classic styline BR and J.Crew suits, many of which are still in good shape, the other day, and realized I would probably have to go elsewhere for replacements.

  11. Again with the cap sleeves. They’re not only unflattering for many, they look funny or don’t sit well under a cardigan or jacket when they’re of a fabric that has any weight.

  12. Love the color, but it strikes me as too narrow/likely-to-cling-to-my-stomach if I can see it clinging to the model (whose stomach is much closer to flat than mine!).

    Side note: It’s ridiculously cold in my office today, so I’m kind of envious of those socks!

  13. Love it! Some Spanx would make it just perfect. :)

  14. I actually love that color of blue, and was sad to see that the only Super 120s item in that color was the dress. No way could I get away with that neckline at work , and since I’m in a rather conservative office, they frown on the layering with camis look.

    • Wow! I have never heard of frowning on the layering with camis look!! Do you mean just lacy, could-be-lingerie camis or any cami at all? I think of my dresses/sweaters/tops with camis (non-lacy) underneath as being a conservative look.

      • I think it depends on the cami and on what the cami is trying to cover up. I have a busty coworker who thinks that a cami solves all her problems but if the buttons on your button-front shirt are 2-3 inches apart, a cami is not making the look “work appropriate” — it’s only drawing attention to the fact that your shirt doesn’t button on your chest.

      • I think the frowning upon occurred with people who were wearing either lacey/lingerie-like camis or camisoles that really looked like someone had just stuck a casual tank top under a tailored dress to make it look a little more modest.

    • Anonymous :

      what about layering with a white button-down shirt? I do this for lots of my work dresses rather than adding a cami.

      • I do this, too, not only with white but black button front shirts as well but I think it would look strange with this particular dress because of the sleeves. I’m trying to picture it with a full sleeved shirt underneath, or even a sleeveless one – it would probably ruin the lines of the dress.

  15. I actually enjoy J. Crew’s somewhat eccentric styling. It encourages me to think outside the box with my work clothes and pair them with my play clothes, thus expanding my wardrobe! With a finite wardrobe budget and an office that requires a suit every day, it’s sometimes hard to justify spending money on something that can’t come into the office. BUT, I can turn up the sleeves on a suiting jacket up (pinstripe lining – so cute!), throw it over a funkier dress, tights and booties and take it into the weekend.

    I’m a little skeptical of this particular styling suggestion, but hey, I figure we all know what a suiting dress looks like with office-appropriate black heels or what a suit looks like with a blouse. That would make the J. Crew catalog very boring. As is, I love the catalog. It’s a little bit of inspiration in a pinstriped world…

    • Yes, thank you! I can’t say I am always inspired to replicate (no socks & mary janes for me, thanks) but it does take what would be boring work clothes and lend them a quirky stylish vibe — there is a reason that I look forward to sitting on the couch with my Jcrew catalog, and am able to skim and toss the Brooks Brothers ones in about 30 seconds flat.

    • Oh Thank Goodness! I completely agree and I was beginning to think I was the only one who loves looking through the JCrew catalog when it comes in the mail! Obviously they don’t think people will wear the items styled their way to work in a corporate environment, but it does inspire me to be more creative with work (and play!) clothes. Like Anonymous said, I already know how I would style the dress for work and I appreciate that they give me a new perspective on the piece with their styling.

  16. Makeup Junkie :

    The styling is perfect for the upcoming Go-Gos reunion tour. That’s pretty much exactly what I was planning to wear.

  17. Thread hijack:

    I have navy blue pants that I have tended to pair with white over the summer. I’m in a casual environment so pants and a jacket/cardigan are definitely dressed up for me. I don’t own any suits.

    I tend to think of navy as a summer combination because of the nautical feel when paired with white. I guess I am wondering if wearing navy in the winter is okay? And what do I pair it with if not white?

    • Anonymous :

      Navy is a year-round color for sure. It looks great with coral, yellow, orange, basically any bright color.

      • I love it with a bright kelly green too. Or a nice thick cream sweater.

      • And, maybe a little old school here, but camel and gray also go well with navy, esp. in fall/winter.

        • Anonymous :

          I agree, but there’s a fine line between elegant and prep school uniform with those color combos. I like them better combined in the same piece (for instance, a navy and gray patterned blouse) than with one color on the bottom and the other on top.

    • Navy also pairs well with pastels — pink, mint green, or jewel tones — purple, turquoise. I think of navy as a very lovely neutral. I am pale pale pale (like the inside of my arm is the color of the moon) and I think navy is more flattering to me than black. White and navy is very crisp, but navy has endless options. The only thing I personally stay away from is red, since it gets very patriotic very quickly (not that I’m not patriotic).

      • Navy also photographs much better than black. Just FYI for anyone taking any firm pics, etc.

    • Of course it’s ok! Practically anything goes with navy except black/dark brown.

      For winter, how about grey/emerald green/burgundy with navy?

  18. The dress is gorgeous, but the socks are CRAZY!

  19. Is it just me but why make a wool dress short sleeved? There is no way I could wear it in the summer and it would be too cold for winter. Am I missing something? Do you have to always wear a thick wool cardi over this dress so you don’t get cold? Why not just give it long sleeves?

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