Splurge Monday’s TPS Report: Two-tone Silk and Wool-Blend Cady Dress

Our daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices. This week, we welcome an old friend back to the blog — Belle from Capitol Hill Style, who was also good enough to take a week of TPS reports during my first maternity leave (and has guest posted about how to maximize a chance meeting with a VIP).  Welcome back, Belle!

Victoria Beckham Two-tone silk and wool-blend cady dressThis dress is utterly sublime. The mix of black and white makes it appropriate for any season, and the tailoring is impeccable. It’s also the perfect piece for the day-to-night transition. I’d wear it with a structured blazer at the office, then lose the blazer and add a brightly colored clutch for a night out. It’s $2,350 at Net-a-Porter.  Victoria Beckham Two-tone silk and wool-blend cady dress

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


  1. Pretty, never seen a zipper quite like that.

    Also, happy (officially) summer everyone!

    • Happy summer, although I don’t think the mother nature quite got the memo, it’s about 60 here and breezy. But it’s light til 10:30 here so there’s that.

    • Or mesh inserts at the office.

      • LOL

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        that’s one of the things I love about it, actually. With a blazer like the poster suggested, it covers the mesh inserts. then you can take it off for an interesting detail on a night out.

    • I don’t have a hate of exposed zippers but can’t trust myself around white dresses.

    • eShakti Lurver :

      Happy the-days-are-finally-getting-shorter-hooray-winter-is-coming day!

  2. Diana Barry :

    The exposed zipper makes it not ok for work for me, but I do love that it’s 42 inches long!!! :)

    • Same! Excited that Belle is the guest poster this week, too.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        Belle has much better taste than Kat….

        • anon in tejas :

          yeah, but Belle has really questionable politics. I stopped reading CHS because of her politics. And with all changes here…. leaning in that direction.

          • Are you saying that being a republican means having “really questionable politics”? You must really dislike half of the country.

          • Anon independent :

            Feeling the need to defend here generally.

            I have not found CHS to be a political blog in any way. I am pretty independent and come from a country that still stones women (among other things in the news lately). Before we start throwing around “really questionable politics” for “someone who has mainstream views that are opposed to my views,” can we pause for a minute and celebrate the blessing of being in a place where we are privileged to both have views and to publicly state them (again, CHS is a fashion blog)? And then there will be no knock on the door when we get home?

          • Anon Worker Bee :

            I think generally people believe anyone on the other side of an issue they care about has questionable politics :)

          • I think they’re saying former NRA lobbyist.

            And while yes, it’s a fashion blog, Belle often did include blips of politics in her posts. Which is fine, it’s her right, but I think her post about how horrible the general public was to her because she worked at the NRA, left a bad taste for a lot of people.

          • To anon independent :

            “Before we start throwing around “really questionable politics” for “someone who has mainstream views that are opposed to my views,” can we pause for a minute and celebrate the blessing of being in a place where we are privileged to both have views and to publicly state them (again, CHS is a fashion blog)? And then there will be no knock on the door when we get home?”

            SLOW CLAP. Yes, this.

          • I’m a regular CHS and ‘rette reader. I read CHS because Belle has a great style blog. When she posts about her experience in politics or the social aspect of politics, I think it just adds to the caphill focus of the blog. I don’t need to agree with her politics one way or another to appreciate that.

          • Oh no, she supports GUN RIGHTS!! Nice to see someone with common sense on the Hill every once in awhile.

          • anonymama :

            I did have an internal debate when I learned Belle was working for the NRA, especially around the time when the NRA was coming out with horrid statements about Newtown. But I always felt that she kept her blog out of politics, and when she occasionally delved into it she had a pretty thoughtful approach (and towards the end of her tenure with the NRA she seemed to me like she was questioning some of their tactics as well).

            Also, to Anon, the NRA goes far beyond just supporting “gun rights,” and really at its core is an amazingly effective lobbying group for the gun industry far more than for actual gun owners (and in a way that truly scorns common sense).

          • Wildkitten :

            It’s totally everyone’s own choice to read or not read CHS and I support everyone’s ability to make that decision. In her defense, you know who else hated Belle being an NRA lobbyist? Belle. So she quit her job there, because she also gets to make her own decisions.

          • Maybe so, but lots of organizations are extremely effective lobbyists for things like abortion rights (which I’m for, BTW), cars, coal, natural gas, farming, oil – and the list goes on.

            So you hate the NRA for doing it’s job (lobbying in the interest of gun owners), but not any of these other organizations? (Or, at least you don’t hate those other organizations to such a degree that you actually, violently, hate them?)

            I think the NRA does a fine job of lobbying for gun owners. Look at the recent Peruta case out in California – in a nutshell, California had banned open carry, and then also banned concealed carry by some very loosely defined terms in their requirements to get the permit. The NRA spent an incredible amount of money to litigate and, ultimately, win the case, restoring rights to millions of California residents. When legislators think it is ok to outright ban ALL forms of carry, or to ban ALL guns, we need a big power to protect from that. And don’t tell me no one is going for an outright ban. California already did with its microstamping tech.

        • I’d say taste is a matter of preference. So maybe Belle’s taste is just more in line with yours?
          I for one would never wear this dress because it’s totally not my style (and I don’t think it qualifies as seasonless unless you live somewhere very warm) but I can see how someone else could find it attractive. Likewise, I’m not a fan of all of Kat’s cobalt blue picks or the abstract patterns she favors, but I think that’s also just a matter of my personal taste. I do like many of Kat’s picks though and I look forward to seeing the rest of Belle’s.

      • If you watch the video of the model wearing the dress (which is such a great feature for online shopping), you also see that a small part of the dress on either side of the ribcage is actually see-through panelling. So another -1.

  3. Yay! Splurge Monday’s! I love this dress — it is the kind that Katy Kourick can look great in, great seleaction, and she just got MARRIED! Yay!

    I would love to have this dress, but I think the onley way I could aford it is if the manageing partner’s brother buy’s it for me. He wanted to take me and Myrna shoppeing on Saturday but I said we did NOT want to go inside–I am afreaid that if he start’s buying me stuff that I will be in an awkeaward position–haveing to PLEASE both him and the manageing partner, and it is already clear that the manageing partner has pushed him to get me to show him around the city. I am just more then a littel concerned that this will lead to more b/c I am sure he will find out that just b/c he has money, there will NOT be alot of 30 something’s opening up their door’s and themselve’s to his overture’s. He is a 62 year old man, without much hair and a with a pretty big stomach. FOOEY!

    What would the HIVE do if they were me? This is a dillemna that I have NOT figured out and I do NOT want to tell DAD about him b/c he is about the same age as DAD. I am sure dad would ruin everything at the firm if he thought that the manageing partner’s brother were interested in me. DOUBEL FOOEY! On the other hand, I do NOT want to get into a situeation where I am forced to keep the manageing partner’s brother happy, which could EXTEND to his libido, which he keep’s telling me and Myrna, is unsachiable! TRIPLE FOOEY! FOOEY on men that think we are excited by a bald guy’s sexueal libido’s. FOOEY!

  4. not usually anon :

    Career TJ right off the bat, sorry:

    I need help. For two years I have worked under a manager that I have, for whatever reason, a tenuous relationship with at best. I had no experience with him prior to him coming to my department, but in the past two years I’ve run the gamut from being uncomfortable and intimidated by him, to feeling physically sick every day, to now being desperate to get away.

    I like my organization as a whole, so I’ve been applying inside the company, but he’s blocked those moves. Now I’m applying outside of my company and feel disheartened by the lack of response even though I know that’s not uncommon. I’m just at a point where I’m struggling to even do my day-to-day work because I’m so miserable working underneath him.

    I’m tired of being treated less than because I’m a woman, I’m sick of his belittling comments about where I ‘m from, I’m sick of being bullied and tired of seeing him bully other people. I just can’t do it anymore.

    I know my only option is to keep applying to jobs, but how do I motivate myself to continue doing my best here?

    • I’m so sorry! That sounds terrible.

      Is there any way you could have a conversation with him and tell him some of this? Not in a “I hate working for you, you are a bully to everyone” kind of way, but rather, by focusing on a few specific things you’d like to address or see change?

      How do you know he’s blocked your attempts to change jobs, by the way? Is there a way you could talk to him about that too?

      I know sometimes we assume the worst about people, but it may be better just to confront the situation head on and have a conversation about it. Try to ride the middle line between being passive and taking abuse quietly and the other extreme of becoming aggressive and accusatory. Aim to be more assertive and bring up the problems in a private meeting. I know it’s scary, but don’t you owe it to yourself? By talking about it, you give him a chance to make it better too. It seems he doesn’t want to lose you, so maybe there’s some potential there for improvement.

    • Motivate yourself by knowing you will get out of there. I have been in your situation 2x and both times I got out. It took some time, interviewing for jobs I did not get until I finally did get one. But I promise you that you will get out if you keep trying.

      Also motivate yourself to protect your job while you are still there. The 2nd time this happened to me, my toxic boss tried to fire me. It was only because I had previously worked directly for his boss who valued me, that it didn’t happen. So forge your relationships with other powerful people while you are there and keep your unhappiness and your job search to yourself. Don’t let on to your boss that you don’t like him either. In my experience bosses like this demand that their underlings treat them like the kings they feel they are or they will make your life very difficult.

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      Is there any possibility that you could interact directly with people in your company but outside of your department (maybe get on a company-wide committee or something)? This would give people in other departments direct experience with you and your work (to counteract whatever your boss is saying about you) and could also put you in a position to know before new positions become available.

    • I have so suggestions but I truly empathize with you. I am sorry you are going through this. I was in the same situation as you are six months back. I hated going to work and all I wanted to do was get through the day some how. My performance suffered and I started to become depressed.I started applying for jobs inside and outside the company and wanted to take the first job that would be offered to me. However, luckily for me, upper management demoted him and made him our peer and replaced him with a very good manager. The old manager left as he got demoted and no longer the manager. I am very happy with my job right now and I am performing very well. It is very very important to work for a good person. I wish things get better for you soon. Keep applying and good luck.

    • Coach Laura :

      Not usually anon- My heart goes out to you and – no offense meant – it sounds like you are beaten down. Almost like an abuse survivor. After reading your post, this sounds like a hostile work environment, to the extent where HR should be involved. Have you considered talking to them or to someone up the chain of command? Does he do this to others or are you the designated punching bag? I normally think legal action for workplace discrimination is a last resort but your version makes me think that your manager has gone too far and someone needs to step in and advocate for you if you can’t do it for yourself. Take care of yourself.

    • Wildkitten :

      Do you really need to do “your best”? Maybe this is a situation when it’s good enough to just do “good enough” so that you also have some energy left to apply/network/GTFO.

  5. Anonymous :

    TJ: How often do you leave your desk for non-work related purposes? For both health and focus purposes I would like to go to he bathroom/kitchen 5 minute walk every 1-2 hrs. This helps me stay more focused and helps me avoid stress/boredom eating. I’m new to the work world and wanted to know – is this alright?

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I think that would be fine. Do you have a job where someone is always looking for you? Ex – personal assistant. Do you have a more independent job with an office? I also don’t consider the bathroom and kitchen non-work related purposes.

      I consider running to the bank, taking a walk, going out for a snack non-work related. No one should be keeping track of your bathroom trips unless you are in a constant coverage position like reception.

      • +1

        I do not see a five minute break to fill up a water bottle/make coffee or run to the bathroom as non-work related purposes. And even if you are in a constant coverage position, your employer should not expect you to work multiple hours without a bathroom/water break.

    • I try to stand up at least once every 45 minutes, if not every 30. Usually that would just be a trip to the water cooler, making tea, going to the bathroom, checking in with my boss who’s on a different hall, etc. I think I’m fidgetier than most other people in my office, but no one’s ever said anything or seemed to care, so a break every 1-2 hours seems totally appropriate to me!

      FWIW, I also try to get out of the office for at least a bit every day around lunchtime. I usually wouldn’t be gone more than 30 minutes (40 at max, unless I have a doctor’s appointment or something), but seeing sunlight and breathing non-office air helps me straggle through the 2-4pm doldrums.

      • You sound just like me! I am just as fidgety, although most of my office mates aren’t. Good to hear this

    • I drink a lot of water and a lot of coffee. I make a lot of bathroom trips. And I usually try to go to a bathroom on another floor so I can get some more steps in. You’re fine.

      • Penny Proud :

        Yes this. I also need direct sunlight. I’m sitting outside right now for no reason.

        Some jobs require you to be in a certain place at certain times (receptionist, factory line, call center, etc). Other jobs don’t, but the manager is crazy (my secretary worked for a lawyer who would listen outside the bathtoom. Yeah. She doesn’t work there anymore! ) Most office jobs don’t have a bathroom break limit. Your goal sounds reasonable.

    • lawsuited :

      It depends what your job is.

      When I worked in a support staff position, my managers needed to be able to reliably find me, so I was at my desk from 8:30am to 5:00pm with a lunch break from noon to 1pm. Of course I went to the bathroom if I needed to, but I didn’t meander around the office or run errands except during my lunch hour.

      Now I’m a lawyer, so sometimes I’m in the office from 6:30am to 4:30pm or from 10am to 11pm. When you essentially live at the office, you feel less bad about taking breaks because it’s not like you’re going to get a break in the evening or over the weekend. Plus, the partners who might need me have my cellphone which I am expected to answer whenever it rings, so I worry less about being at my desk.

  6. My great grandma is having a big birthday this week (well, everything after 100 is a big birthday, right?) My parents beat me to the punch on flowers so I was thinking something she could share with the nurses / residents at her nursing home? Edible arrangements sound like a waste of perfectly good fruit but maybe something in this vein?

    • Also, no dried fruit? We sent it to her once and she very apologetically told us that the company we used had sent old fruit!

    • Anne Shirley :

      When I’m 100, I’m gonna be saying f the fruit and bring me the good chocolate.

      • Definitely. The nurses get mad because she wants the corner slice of cake (with all the icing). She’s 108, what’s it going to do? If she wants to eat cake all day, so be it!

        • Happy 108th to your grandma! What about chocolate covered strawberries? I haven’t tried them but Shari’s Berries delivers and seems to have good reviews.

          • Ooh, or what about a Junior’s Cheesecake? You could also do those tiny Baked by Mellissa cupcakes.

          • Ooh, that’d be nice for sharing and a bit different than the typical treats they have.

          • When I hear the ads for Shari’s Berries on ESPN radio, they always say the coating is “chocolate-y” rather than chocolate. What does this mean?

          • anon, that’ll be a legal thing. In the UK, for example, we have chocolate-flavoured-coated raisins, rather than chocolate raisins. And orange-and-mango-flavoured juice drink, rather than orange and mango juice (where there are ingredients other than orange juice and mango juice)

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Woah!!! 108!!! My grandma is going to be 102 this August and is near blind and near deaf. She is very limited in what she can eat. Successful non-consumable gifts have included: a stuffed animal pillow, a crochet blanket, a bathrobe, a bag with fuzzy socks, chap stick, hand cream, etc., visits from my dog w/ prior approval and facility set up w/ a follow up picture of the two of them at the visit, money for her spending account for hair cuts.

      • Seriously. Or the good booze, if she’s into that.

        • This. Even if it’s the airplane sized serving…

          • A variety pack of airplane bottles sounds like an amazing gift. Which probably says a lot about my frame of mind right now….

    • Miss Behaved :

      I’m partial to the long-stemmed cookie bouquet:

    • Not a consumable, but my elderly relatives have always appreciated new framed pictures of family to display in their rooms (if they still have the vision to enjoy it, of course).

      • Anon independent :

        I have used Shutterfly to blow up pictures to a wall-sized plaque that you can hang up. Sometimes legally-blind people can see a very large portrait. And even if they can’t quite see it, they love to discuss the latest pictures with their visitors and hear how cute the babies are.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      If she can still eat toast, what about a fancy jams in individual containers that she wouldn’t need to refrigerate. Just make sure the staff knows about it if they are monitoring her calories/sugar.

      • Jams might be a good idea. Maybe just a package of all kinds of yummy stuff.

        She does have a (not-so-secret) supply of super spicy cheetos. She pretends she doesn’t but the bright orange fingers give her away.

        • OMG, I love this. I want to BE your grandma! Happy birthday to her.

        • I hope I can be your grandma when I grow up. Cheers to her!

        • That’s so awesome ! For my grandma (who passed away at 99 last year), it was the giant size bag of peanut M & Ms that she kept stashed in her nightstand drawer.

          The doctor at the facility actually said to us that she might want to lay off the sweets (she was not diabetic, but gained 5 pounds in two months once). I was flabbergasted. This is a 99 year old woman who still had her faculties and was healthier than some of her own children. :) If I make it to my mid 90s, I am drinking and eating whatever I darn well please.

        • She sounds like an awesome lady . The ‘old fruit’ comment above had me giggling! Congrats to her, and you, for having your grandma in your life for so long.

    • 108! That’s awesome. I hope you are planning for a longer-than-usual retirement.

  7. I seriously doubt this dress could be tailored given the way the color blocking hits.

    Also, that back zipper in the office? Seriously?

  8. I’m looking for an interview appropriate maternity suit that does not look like a clown outfit (large cloth covered buttons) or a bat. I do not live in an area where there are brick and mortar stores with any decent options (such as pea in a pod, Nordstrom). Need suit by Monday.

    I think they are hoping to fill the position immediately, so my advanced (7 mos) pregnancy is likely a dealbreaker, but I do want to get dressed and show up. That being said, I’m sad to have to shell out $$$ to do it.

    Alternatively, if anyone has such a suit (10 bottoms/probably a 10 or L blazer) that they’d be willing to loan, I would be forever grateful/pay for shipping.

    • I think this is a case where you can totally wear a nice work appropriate dress and a coordinating non-maternity blazer. If you keep the colors subdued, the hair polished, and sport some good accessories, I think this can read as totally formal. As an interviewer, I would never expect someone to buy a maternity suit just for this event.

      • Agree with Jenny. Maternity sheath or some other dress and a lovely blazer. I’ve been through two pregnancies myself and am also responsible for lots of hiring, and I’d never ding an obviously-pregnant candidate for this type of outfit.

      • Agree with this. Also, if you have a nice maternity pencil skirt, that should be fine with a contrasting (so you don’t look like you tried to match and failed) non-maternity suit jacket, worn open, and the best shirt that fits. (This was my court look through most of my pregnancy, and I always felt like it worked well.)

    • I bought a three piece Olian suit from this (admittedly sketchy looking) website. It’s not the best material, but the price was right, looks good, and has worked for both pregnancies. Good luck!

    • Amelia Bedelia :

      I had a lot of success by wearing maternity pants from Ann Taylor Loft with a regular suit jacket from ann taylor (that I already owned, but you could buy one). I did this in light grey and in black. I made sure to wear a maternity top that stuck out under the jacket — to create a bit of separation from the jacket and pants. It honestly looked really great. I speak a lot, and this worked well for my formal conferences. In fact, two pregnant women came and complemented me and asked me where I found such a fabulous maternity suit. obviously, I couldn’t button the jacket, but it really did create a nice lean line with just my tummy sticking out.

    • I recently found a nice navy blazer at Penney’s (not in the maternity section) that had a really wide waist and a huge flared flap kinda thing in the back. It seemed like it would work now and also fit for quite some time while my belly is expanding. Not sure if it would button at 7 months, but wouldn’t be quite so gaping as a regular suit jacket. Not super formal, but I feel like you can get away with a lot more when you are pregnant and people recognize that you aren’t going to duplicate your entire normal wardrobe for the sake of a few months.


    • What about Mine for Nine? I rented a couple of blazers for client meetings from them when I was pregnant. Not sure about shipping, but maybe if you order it today or tomorrow?

  9. I’m coming up on my second wedding anniversary and was wondering if anyone had any good ideas for cotton gifts. We’re in a pretty small city apartment, so I don’t really want to add clutter (I’ve seen a lot of signs, pillows, etc. on pinterest) but would like to get at least something small that follows the annual gift item tradition! I’d love to hear if anyone else does gifts that follow the tradition and if you do what your favorites to give or get have been!

    • How about a tablecloth or cloth napkins?

    • Anne Shirley :

      A cotton item of clothing : maybe new boxers for him and a nightie for you?

    • How about new sheets/towels?

    • In the Pink :

      a lovely dress shirt, monogrammed?

      lovely paper/stationery … cotton rag content?

      a pair of jeans or something denim he wouldn’t buy for himself?

      linens, towels that you wanted and didn’t get as wedding gifts?

    • play on cotton by turning it into an experience? More expensive – ask to plan a visit to a Southern city (incl. a plantation). Cheaper – plan a picnic in the park on new cotton tablecloth / towels / blanket.

      • We wrote letters to each other on cotton paper.

      • I am agape that a trip to a *cotton plantation* could be viewed as celebratory in any possible context. That is horrid.

        • I agree but you’d be surprised by how many people think plantations are “romantic.” A good friend of mine got married at a plantation and the ceremony took place under this huge oak that had all these decorative lanterns “hanging” from the limbs. Very uncomfortable and awkward, indeed.

          • Am I to understand the implication being that other things were actually hung from that particular tree during the land’s tenure as a cotton plantation? Because other than that, I’m not sure how else to secure lanterns in a tree and why that in particular would be offensive.

          • Mpls, who cares? The whole idea of using a former working plantation for an event space is appalling (unless the event has a historical / educational purpose) and I’m shocked that anyone would do this or suggest doing it as a ROMANTIC gesture. Will people truly overlook any atrocity?

          • You do, apparently. For clarification, I wasn’t endorsing the cotton anniversary/cotton plantation connection, but addressing the comment directly above concerning a wedding.

            Which, I don’t have a problem with. Because the alternative is what, let the old house rot and hide the history away? Yes, it’s a horrible piece of history and no one should forget that, but in addition to that, those building tend to be incredible pieces of architecture, that require money for upkeep and maintenance. I can certain understand why you might find it objectionable, because some people have a hard time separating the history from the location. But is it fair to freeze that location to one point in history and disregard all others?

            But on the anniversary question, if the couple in question were history/civil war buffs and wanted to use their anniversary as an opportunity to visit the South and the civil war battlefield, I could see using the cotton plantation idea as a connection between a “cotton” anniversary and the trip, as a private inside joke.

    • Monogrammed handkerchiefs?

    • I gave a Pawleys Island hammock and it was very well received.

    • I think I got DH a nice pair of designer jeans that year.

    • My husband is super into old blues/jazz, so I got him a few CDs from old Cotton Club acts, then wrapped it in a white bag stuffed with cotton balls.

    • Wildkitten :

      Biography of Eli Whitney?

  10. Gorgeous dress. If I ever become a CEO, I am buying all of the Victoria Beckham dresses.

  11. Also, I wanted to report back on the black and white jcrew blazer from last week. I really wanted to keep it but it did not work out at all. It’s cropped/boxy shape and the raglan-ish sleeve made me look like a linebacker. I think those types of jackets need a sharp shoulder to provide enough structure.

  12. I know how crazy unpopular the huaraches post was last week, but I love the style. I bought these on amazon last week, and they are very comfortable. (Link in post) These will replace my flip flops for casual sandal weekend wear for the rest of the summer.

    • http://www.amazon.com/Skechers-Peep-Toe-Huarache-Skimmer/dp/B00F5NUWVY/ref=sr_1_6?s=shoes&ie=UTF8&qid=1403535490&sr=1-6&keywords=huaraches

  13. Ciao, pues :

    How do you reply to a job offer over the phone to open the door to negotiating on several items? I want to be positive and enthusiastic but also clear that I have some things to negotiate. I ask because I once was so enthusiastic when I got the offer that the employer thought that I had accepted it and was miffed when I called back to negotiate salary (in retrospect, I probably did accept it– it was my first job out of college and I was too pumped!).

    • “That’s great news. Would you mind if I took a day or two to think it over?” Generally, they say that’s fine. Then you can compose your talking points and get back to them

  14. Talbots!?!? :

    I read a lot of good reviews of Talbot’s here and randomly went to a 40% off in store sale this weekend. Where I found 4 awesome shirts. And signed up for a rewards card. I’m seriously about 20 years too young for them. What is going on!! Don’t want to let any of my friends know!

    • Hah, I am at least two decades younger than their target customer but I have found some really cute shoes there over the past few years.

      • What age do people view as their target customer? 45? 65?

        • Talbots!?!? :

          Based on the amount of white hair, walkers, and middle aged daughters helping their moms in the dressing room, I’d say 65+

        • Can’t speak for others, but I’d say starting around 50 and upwards from there.

        • I think 40’s-50’s was their target demographic for years. That said, I’m in my early 30’s and have purchased several cute and well-made pieces there. I think they’ve been revamping their collections to be a bit trimmer cut, more fashionable, etc. in recent years.

    • I’ve typically done drinks but may be switching to coffee (and I don’t even drink coffee!) for the above reasons that it can be cut off more easily as people rarely order two coffees. Also, it’s true that alcohol eases nerves and makes things flow better–but what that usually means for me is that I think a first date of drinks went well, and on subsequent dates I find the guy dreadfully dull and/or annoying, things that I didn’t notice when I was “lubricated.”

    • I’m about 20 years younger than the Boden target market but I’m becoming increasingly enamoured of them. Don’t tell my friends!

    • lawsuited :

      I don’t know what their target demographic is supposed to be, but I’m 28 and between their seasonless wool suiting and 100% silk shells, Talbots has a majority stake in my work wardrobe. I like that they have a wide ranges of sizes, colours and styles in suiting and blouses, and still use natural fibres.

    • eShakti Lurver :

      Welcome to the Young Grandmas club, my friend. I’ve been wearing Eileen Fisher since my 20s. I regret nothing!

      • +1 to the Young Grandma’s club. I’m also an avid knitter, so my card should be arriving in the mail anytime now…

    • lucy stone :

      I’m 30 and have been shopping there for work for 5 years. I’m a plus petite and it’s about the only place I can find suits that are close to affordable and not complete polyester junk.

    • Oh, I’m totally into Talbots (at 41, gasp!) and have been for a few years. Not everything fits the bill for my style, but I often do find stuff I love that is youngish and of good quality. I also have the rewards card. They have good sales; I rarely buy something from there at full price.

  15. first date :

    Blind date my aunt is setting me up with suggested coffee or a drink this weekend. I have never done coffee as a first date but am possible open to this. Which would you prefer and why?

    • first date :

      I meant “possibly” open

    • Small time/cost commitment. You can totally bail if it’s terrible, but upgrade to something else if you are connecting.

      • +1. I think this is way more important for first dates with strangers than the coffee vs. drink thing. I’ve done both with okay results, and would do either again. But given the choice, I’d go for a drink, just because caffeine can hit me really hard if I’m already nervous about something.

      • I actually despise the dates that are proposed as “drinks” but actually mean “drinks with an option for dinner if you are actually the weight/attractiveness level as your pictures and do not talk about babies in the first 5 minutes.”

        If we make plans for drinks at 8pm, I’m eating dinner beforehand. There’s no way I can make it until the 9 or 9:30pm that it would be before I could eat even on a failed option-not-exercised date. Yet the guys seem to think that they are granting me the uber-coveted final rose of the evening if they ask if I want to order food, and then get b!tthurt when I say I’ve already eaten.

        • Wildkitten :

          Have you considered that you are dating the wrong guys? If they suggest drinks at 8 you can always say no and counter-offer. I wouldn’t blame the drinks for any of that.

          • Anonymous :

            Where did I say I was blaming the drinks? I said I was blaming the guy for agreeing to a plan of drinks, at a time that is clearly post-dinner based on the eating culture of my city, but then showing up unfed and getting pissy because I didn’t wait to eat on the possibility I might be ohsolucky to have him offer to buy me bar food.

            Anyway, when a guy does this it’s a good way to screen out the DBs who think they are such a gift to the world that I will be overjoyed that I got the “option” for dinner invite. I was just responding to Mpls’s comment that you can “upgrade to something else if you’re connecting,” which I find really annoying to be on the other end of. I’ve planned my day and allotted 2 hours for drinks. If we’re connecting, that’s what second dates are for. This is not 1941 where we must decide RIGHT NOW if we’re going to get married before he ships out.

          • And the upgrade could be a 2nd date. Where you have dinner. Or it could be a walk around the lake. Or a late night movie. Kind of left it vague on purpose.

    • I prefer a drink because it takes the edge off a little bit. Except coffee has its advantages because it’s generally shorter – no one will order two coffees so once you’re done your latte, you can generally leave if it’s a bad/awkward date/

      I think it depends on the vibe you’re getting from this guy!

    • I think that if you’re not the kind to get nervous and generally know if you click with someone quickly, coffee is preferable because it’s easier to end the date shortly if you’re not feeling it. But alcohol is, as they say, a social lubricant, and might make conversations flow more easily.

    • Anne Shirley :

      I prefer drinks. I feel like it’s an atmosphere more conducive to romance. I can put on something cute, get in that mindset, and be in a bar with fun flirty energy. Coffee always feels like an interview, and I think it brings out my reserved side.

    • Drinks. There’s nothing flirty about coffee. Even if it’s a blind date you still want to make it a date.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      For me, if I’d met the person before and wanted to go on a date with them, it would be drinks for the reasons noted above by Anne Shirley.

      For an online/blind date, though, I would do coffee as it’s almost like a pre-screening to see if you actually want to go on a ‘real’ date with that person.

    • Reposting because I misplaced it above…

      I’ve typically done drinks but may be switching to coffee (and I don’t even drink coffee!) for the above reason that it can be cut off more easily as people rarely order two coffees. Also, it’s true that alcohol eases nerves and makes things flow better–but what that usually means for me is that I think a first date of drinks went well, and on subsequent dates I find the guy dreadfully dull and/or annoying (things that I didn’t notice when I was “lubricated”).

    • ManagementConsultant :

      To me, coffee feels cheap and like he isn’t actually interested in spending time getting to know me. If someone suggests that I think it’s a little bit rude, unless its coupled with some sort of explanation, like “I’m so sorry, all my nights are booked, but maybe we could get coffee”.

      • Anonymous :

        I find this view really interesting, especially since I imagine as a management consultant you have very little free time in your home city. I’ve gone on dozens of first dates, and can count on two fingers the number I actually wanted a second date out of. It’s a huuuuuuge waste of my time to go on a 3 hour dinner date, which actually means a 5 hour time commitment by the time I factor in 90 minutes to get ready and 30 minutes to drive there and back, just to have the guy be the umpteenth dud. It’s not that I’m not interested in getting to know a guy–believe me, I still go on every one hoping this one will actually be interesting–but I have too many other demands on my time and things that make me happy to spend 5 hours on every bad first date.

        • ManagementConsultant :

          Yeah, the more I think about it, I admit I’m totally hypocritical in my thinking :) Basically, I would LOVE a coffee date because it takes less time – exactly like you said – but there is also something insulting about it. Somehow drinks to me feels like it’s more appropriate, though I do agree that coffee is shorter and therefore more efficient!

  16. Gosh aren’t backhanded compliments the worst? It’ll out me if I go in detail but it was a sweet comment from a coworker that also implied I’m fat (for reference I’m an athletic size 10 – no I’m not small but I’m not significantly overweight). I’m trying to focus on just the nice part of it but man is it gnawing at me.

    • Ugh. Yes. Really try not to let it get to you. People who make such comments are either 1) totally rude or 2) lack awareness of social norms of being nice.

    • Or maybe it the implication that you’re fat wasn’t something she thought of or intended. I don’t think I’ve ever done something like that, but I feel like I have a tendency to say the wrong thing when I’m not watching myself very closely. Maybe it’s an honest mistake.

    • lawsuited :

      Why does it matter that you’re a size 10? I’m overweight and I still don’t want co-workers telling me I’m fat. I don’t think it matters whether you “deserve” it or not.

  17. Famouscait :

    Is anyone still visiting the new Moms site? I just posted over there with a question, and I’m hoping for a few replies…. Thanks ladies!

  18. I’m a Big Law midlevel considering making a lateral move to another Big Law firm. One of the primary reasons I want to move is because I don’t think my firm is a very good place for women who have or want to have children. Our official maternity and flextime policies are very generous, but the attitudes of many partners, at least in my group, are not in line with the policies. The number of female partners we have reflects these unofficial attitudes, so I know it is not all in my head and the problem is even worse at my firm than in Big Law in general. Does anyone have any advice about how I can gauge a firm’s friendliness towards women with families when interviewing? Questions to ask? I don’t have many friends in the legal profession in my city, so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get any informal intel.

    • Above the Law has done several pieces on this – there are a handful of different groups/magazines that rate law firms on their family friendliness. It may not be helpful if, like yours, their policies don’t match expectations, but it’s worth checking out.

      • Thanks. I don’t really trust these lists because my current firm is on a lot of them.

        • Lorelai Gilmore :

          Find associates who have kids and ask them. I think word of mouth is your best (and only) bet on this subject. Alternatively, call Yale Law Women and ask them to see the raw data that went into their survey. (Have no idea if they’ll give it to you, but it might be helpful!)

    • It’s really hard to judge, and unfortunately you may have a firm that’s supportive … but work for partners who aren’t.

      I would try to read the tea leaves in speaking with other female attorneys within the group you are interviewing.

      Anecdotally, I’ve found that one firm I worked at where many of the male partners had wives who worked outside the home & held doctor/lawfirm partner/etc. jobs was more progressive toward female associates than a different firm where it was largely male partners with SAH partners. I recognize this is a gross overgeneralization, but FWIW.

    • I would talk to a trusted headhunter. Also, at least at my old firm, once you got an offer, if you mentioned you were a working mom (which you are not…sounds like you’re in the planning stage), they would connect you with another working mom. Maybe you could request a coffee date with someone once the offer is in hand? Informational interviews with alums in your city? That sort of thing?

    • Anonymous :

      A late response, but in my experience, the attitudes are at the section level, not the firm level. So, the firm might have lots of great leave/reduced hours programs, but ultimately the decision to allow such leave, etc., is made by either the local or national section leader (supposedly dependent upon section utilization, etc., but obv highly influenced by their own opinions on the matter).

      I would look for a section that has a fair number (proportionally) of female senior associates, and spend some time talking to them about the firm culture. See if any have had kids. When we interview, I’m always brutally honest about work-life balance.

  19. I’m wondering if I should stop wearing sandals to the office. I’m not the most fashion forward person but I do try to look put together. I have black and brown sandals that are strappy with a modest heel (around 2.5 inches). All my toes shows…most of my foot shows. Are these inappropriate for a business casual office? I have no one to look at for model behavior because all of upper management is men and the women at my level are older and dress inappropriately in other ways (colored jeans and tee shirts with tennis shoes).

    I googled it and found hard line opinions that go both ways – absolutely NO, and why the heck not? Opinions please.

    • I wear sandals to my far-side-of-casual business casual office, but I usually go for ones that are not super-bare. I’m uncomfortable showing so much naked foot, especially if my pedicure isn’t perfect (and it usually isn’t).

    • OttLobbyist :

      Sandals are not for me with work clothes ever, but I think moderately strappy sandals, with impeccably maintained feet and pedicure are likely fine for most business casual places. The look that throws me off is the full suit and then the strappy sandals. That just looks disconnected to me.

    • I think it sounds fine in your office if people are wearing jeans.

    • I think it depends on casual your office swings. Mine has swung fairly casual the last couple of months (jeans/casual pants most days), so when summer came along, I started wearing my sandals more on the days where I don’t have any meetings.