Wednesday’s TPS Report: Cashmere Drape Neck Sweater

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

Wow: this looks like the perfect cowl neck sweater for the office. See how it’s loose but still fitted? How the neckline is more of a V than a U, and not a very low one at that? I suspect this is an item that Ann Taylor is confident in — it’s available online only but in 5 different colors XXS-XXL, as well as petite sizes. It’s $198 at Ann Taylor. Cashmere Drape Neck Sweater

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


  1. My guess… the loose but still fitted look was acheived using photoshop. AT is one of the worst offenders at photoshopping their models.

    • I just clicked through to look at the other colors, and suspect you are right, anon… the model’s arm looks particularly bizarre in Wild Orchid.

      Also, you can see how thin the material is in looking at the arm of the cream color (pictured) – although pretty colors and a nice shape and neckline, I’ll pass.

      • I’m also not a fan of this one. I am generally weary of “online only” items, and I am not sure I agree with Kat that lots of colors in lots of sizes means the company knows the item will be a hit. Talbots does that with lots of items and their stuff is very hit or miss, imo. I think the fact that it’s online only says much more about the item’s potential.

      • Thanks to both for this kind of critical eye. I like to think of myself as a savvy shopper, but had not considered either of these factors. (Totally earnest comment, in case my tone comes across wrong…)

    • Completely agree. I’ve bought and returned numerous items that were “fitted” in the photo but potato sacks IRL.

      Also, I don’t know anyone who would spend $200 on anything from AT except a suit.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Truth. The sweater looked great to me at first glance, but then I realized it was from Ann Taylor. Photoshop heavy, and using cheap, thin fabrics that fall apart, and sizing issues. If this sweater was from a more reliable store, I’d definitely consider it.

      I love cashmere for warmth in my freezing office, but I do wish there was some sort of grading system for cashmere because there is such a variance in quality. Cashmere at AT/BR or similar is not the same as cashmere at J.Crew or Nordies, which is not the same as cashmere at Saks or Neiman. I wish there was a way to tell, right on the label. In the meantime, I’ll wait for after Christmas sales at the latter before I pick up more cashmere.

      • exactly!! can’t agree more. and even cashmere at j crew varies from year to year.

      • MaggieLizer :

        A Nordies salesperson told me at the half yearly sale that Nordies is doubling the price of their cashmere next year. I tend to take things like this with a grain of salt coming from a (I assume) commission-based salesperson, but I’m curious to know if anyone else has heard similar rumors and whether the price hike will be limited to Nordies.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          I read somewhere that demand for cashmere is way, way up, so prices are skyrocketing. There aren’t that many cashmere goats after all. So, stores are either decreasing their cashmere quality to stay at or near last year’s price point (hello, J.Crew and your pilling, shredding cashmere), or I guess the alternative is to stick with quality, but raise prices correspondingly. That sounds like what Nordstrom is doing.

    • You don’t even need photoshop – binder clips behind your back work just fine.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        I hate when they do this! But at least in-store you can see how the mannequin is only fitted by wearing the gigantic garment with binder clips. (Actually, once I saw a store employee wearing it the same way…so I guess that could be an option for some of us!).

      • I hate that in stores, too! I automatically label something a “no” when I see the clips in back.

        It seems to me that if a store is changing the product to advertise it (photoshopping the fit, tailoring for the model, clipping), it’s not the actual product anymore, and dishonest advertising. I really hate that.

      • I read an article once that went “behind the scenes” at a photo shoot, and it included several pics of clothes binder-clipped onto models. No such thing as truth in advertising, I guess.

      • I’ve always wondered whether that was more about how hard it is to put on clothes on mannequins that can’t move or bend rather than the clothes themselves…

        • ahh no, they want you to think you look that skinny in the clothes, even though the mannequin is wearing has 5″ of extra fabric swimming around her in the quadruple zero.

        • That’s a good point. The mannequin would normally wear a small, but they can’t get the small around all of the immobile pieces, so they put on a large instead and clip it. I’ve never thought of that before, but I bet you are right.

          • I actually check the mannequins ALL the time, bc I’m pretty small myself, and a lot of times there’s no XS or whatever left on the rack and I’ll ask them to take the one off the mannequin. Could depend on the store though.

          • I’ve had the same experience as Kelly- I’m usually an xs, and if they’re out of my size, I’ve had them take it off the mannequin several times at different stores. (It sounds like it should be true, though!)

          • I worked retail to get through school. Our mannequins were a small top and 6 bottom and they are easier to dress than you’d think.

        • Alanna of Trebond :

          That’s an interesting point. On the other hand, there are some stores that don’t seem to use the binder clips, plus you could just take the heads and arms off to get the shirt on (which actually seems easier than putting it on a human…).

          • I used to work retail and the only times we used binder clips were when we only had larger sizes left, for example when we sold our last small or medium which was on the mannequin and had to replace it with an XL.

          • to KM, it could be the store, but also how long ago did you work in retail? the smalls used to be A LOT smaller. I recently borrowed a size 6 or 8 dress that my mom had from the 80s and it was so tight in the waist I had to unbutton in on the car ride, but all my modern dress are a 2.

            I don’t shop at AT, but I hear they’re really bad with vanity sizing, like a 0 there is a 6 at other stores.

  2. I saw this at AT this past weekend and was shocked at the price tag. I love a cowl neck sweater but not for that much…

    I am going to get my husband an electric shaver for christmas (something he has wanted for ages). Does anyone have any advice/know what your SO uses? He has mentioned the brand Norelco. I’m not sure if this will make a difference with the type of shaver he will need, but he is African so something that works better on coarser hair is preferred.


    • Littlest Attorney :

      My boyfriend just bought himself an electric shaver on the advice of a guy friend of his. Based on his friend’s recommendation he bought a Braun. They are pricey but so far he loves it. Its quick to use, has a “base” unit that is used to clean the razor with the touch of a button and charge the razor itself. It seems to hold a charge for several days so no need to bring the base when travelling and there is a travel charger. Can’t speak to what kind of hair it works best on.

      • I am pretty sure that the Braun is the one my husband has. The cleaning refills and the replacement blades are a bit pricey (although I save some cash by buying the refills on Amazon subscribe and save). But it has held up for several years (4 or 5 maybe) and he uses it without complaint (big for my picky hubby). He has sensitive skin and it doesn’t seem to bother him at all.

      • That’s the one I bought for my SO 7 years ago and it’s still working great.

      • Anyone’s hubby use a straight razor? Am debating between an electric and a straight razor for my husband for Christmas but am not sure what he would prefer.

        • a passion for fashion :

          my husband hates an electronic razor — he says they dont give a close enough shave. One year I bought him the whole straight razor, shaving lather and brush, which i think he used a few times but always goes back to his mach 5 razor.

    • I got my husband this one a few years ago, and he’s pretty happy with it. He has fairly coarse facial hair, and can’t use the foil-type shavers.

      Hope that helps!

    • My husband uses a Norelco electric shaver, and I bought my dad one a few years ago. My dad loves his, but my husband is less enthusiastic. Both of the shavers have had battery problems, and they can’t be easily replaced at home.

    • I know this doesn’t help much, but I’ve heard there is a razor made for your husband’s type of facial hair. I think the design is meant not to be quite as close a shave, to help prevent bumps from ingrown hairs. You may want to reasearch that idea.

    • Totally agree with you about the price. Spend a little more and you can get Vince. Definitely too much for AT. As for the razor, my DH has coarse hair, so I thought maybe I could help. And then my fingers froze on the keyboard as I realized that even after 10 years together, I have no idea what razor he uses! Fail! But good luck.

    • Somewhat on the subject:

      Any recommendations for clippers? My SO wants to cut his own hair – so I need something that a newbie could figure out. He’s African too, so same coarser hair requirement.

    • DH uses a Norelco. We have been married 12 years and he as replaced the shaver once, years ago. Not cheap, but they seem to last and last.

    • Warn him that it could take a few days or even weeks for his skin to adjust to the new method. My husband’s face was terribly irritated when he switched from a razor to an electric razor, but he’s used to it now and loves the closer shave.

  3. I love drapeneck sweaters, however, that one is out of my budget. And as anon said, there are probably 4 binder clips up and down that models back making the AT XXS look fitted on her!

    THREADJACK, and repost. I’m giving up on anon for this bc it was stuck in moderation ALL DAY.

    Ok, I have what seems to be an offer dinner coming and I have a some questions:

    1) what to wear! I have a 3/4 sleeve black dinner/social suit that I love, but I wore to the dinner interview with them and don’t want to repeat it (I doubt they’ll remember!) I have another non-basic interview suit that I may wear, but it has long sleeves and I hate eating with long sleeve jackets. i’m sure the men will take their jackets off (after one comment last night, I thought this bc at dinner interview partner walked into the restaurant with jacket off, but I went to lunch with another partner and he ate lunch with his jacket on), so if I wear an appropriate top maybe I’ll be fine, but most my under suit shirts are sleeveless shells. I also have a 3/4 sleeve nice non basic black blazer that I could wear with a pencil skirt, pants, or sheath. let me know what you guys think!

    after comment from last night, i’ll prob go with the long sleeve suit, with a short sleeve cowl neck sweater. my non cowl neck short sleeve suit shirts are either too frumpy or don’t match, and I think a cowl would be okay for dinner? I would leave the jacket open.

    2) nail polish, i’m currently wearing russian navy and plan to change it. Do I hafta do nude/light pink, or can I wear a plum or deep red?

    3) salary negotiation. It’s a small firm, so I don’t think salary is locked. If the offer is less than I want, I plan to ask for me. If, on the rare chance they offer me a good number, should I still negotiate? FWIW it’s a male dominated practice area, no female partners at the firm. My dad (who’s a lawyer and litigates a lot) says I have to negotiate no matter what bc if I don’t do it for myself how do they know I’m gonna do it for their clients, and that the firm will expect me to negotiate. (I thought about this more since yesterday, and maybe if I like the salary I’ll ask for more vacation? I’m used to getting 4 weeks at my current job and they said it’s 2 weeks.)

    I think that’s all for now! And for those fresh graduate corporettes just know that there is hope! I’ve been looking for a year!

    • I think the long-sleeved suit jacket is safe, but your third option would also be totally appropriate. Cowl would totally be ok.

      Nail polish: I would go nude / light pink. Don’t want anyone to notice.

      Definitely ask in the salary negotiation — it’ll show you’re not a pushover and may factor in your future salary. If they come back with a firm no, though, be pleasant and accept.

    • Yes to negotiation. Even if they offer you something you would accept, ask for 10-15% more. You just might get it.

      Your choices sound fine on the other issues. I doubt the men will notice the nail polish.

      Also, I’ve never received an offer at an “offer dinner.” It seems very Mad Men to me.

  4. In response to Ann’s question in yesterday’s comments about the gym/dance studio/fitness center in DC I go to: Jordins Paradise. I love it!

    • Where’s that? I’m in DC and looking for a gym, but I haven’t heard of it!

      • It’s right across the street from Convention Center metro on the green line. It’s more dance studio/fitness center than gym, as it’s small (with one changing booth and a bathroom) and no separate locker area with showers or anything. But seriously, soo fun – classes like belly dancing, bikini body bootcamp, pole dancing, zumba, an abs class, all sorts of stuff. I’m a big fan of their pole cardio class – it’s basically an hour of nonstop interval training and leaves me sore all over every time.

      • I am really happy with my Washington Sports Club membership – they have so many locations I have no excuse not to go, and the location nearest me is super, super nice.

    • Thanks, kaydee! Those classes look so fun. I’m sign up for a couple. I like it that you can just sign up for a class without dropping a lot of money on a full membership. This looks like it might be a fun thing to do to change up a workout routine. Thanks also to everyone else who responded to my post yesterday.

      • No problem! Yeah one of my friends has a regular gym membership but she likes incorporating these when she needs a change. I’d also suggest liking them on Facebook or following them on Twitter, they tend to have really good specials- for Cinco de Mayo last year they ran a special for $5 classes, and I picked up a few 10 class packs for 60 bucks each.

  5. Ok this is going to sound silly but…

    …. I just started reading Corporette and I feel like I found a “club” of educated,
    professional women that I so desperately want to be a part of!!

    I have always been career-focused and have wanted to go to law school for as far back as I can remember. Unfortunately, my family and friends haven’t supported my dream and I am hoping to find a network of women who can and will give advice. Are there any places where I can connect with more women like you??

    • AnonInfinity :

      That’s exactly why I love Corporette!

      As far as connecting with awesome professional women, there are Corporette meet-ups from time to time in large cities like Boston, Seattle, NYC (not sure about the last one?). I don’t live in any of those areas, so I’ve been checking out local women’s groups to try to find one that fits.

      If you know enough people in your area, it might be possible for you to kind of cobble together your own group. A few women from my law school class go to lunch or dinner at least once every couple of weeks, and we all have very similar ambitious career goals (coincidentally, we all also love this website). I also try to stay in touch with women in different professional levels and have lunch or a chat every now and then.

      Depending on where you live, it can be done. I live in a mid-sized city that is not known for being progressive (or even generally intelligent), but there are so many inspiring professional women here. I just have to seek them out.

    • JJ how old are you? Coming right out of college to law school or from working? Law school right now, which I’m sure you’ve heard, is the hot topic for a bad investment. Which I agree with for many people, maybe even the majority. People are entering without a clear idea of what lawyers do (hint: not Law and Order) with the idea that it is lucrative, and exiting with up to 200k in debt. So some important questions to answer before anyone can help give you advice on whether it is a good idea or not:

      -What kind of law do you want to practice/where would you ideally be after graduation?
      -Being realistic- what kind of schools are you looking at, t14? local ones with good reputation in the community?
      -How much debt are you willing to take on
      -If your looking at public service jobs have you explored the schools loan forgiveness program
      -Why are you interested in law?

      • AnonInfinity :

        My eyes totally skipped over the part where JJ said she’s trying to decide whether to go to law school. Oops. I’m not sure how much my advice applies, in that case.

        JJ — One way to connect with people is through your career services office or alumni office from your undergrad institution. Though you might get skewed perspectives because those are probably going to be people who are happy with the college and their career choices.

        Also, if you provide answers to cfm’s excellent questions, the women on here are generally not shy about sharing their opinions about whether you should go to law school.

        • And see if there are any Meetup groups in your area where you could meet like-minded people.

      • Thanks everyone for all your helpful responses! I live in a very small community so there are not very many young professionals to connect with.
        I will try Meetup though.

        I am in my mid 20’s and worked as a paralegal in a mid size firm in a very large city. I absolutely loved it but had to leave because my husband’s job was relocated. I now work in a Fortune 500 company in a commercial role.
        I have a shot at a local T14 school but haven’t submitted any applications. I am concerned about the cost – all our debts will be paid off in 6 months though so that could make it more manageable. My husband and I have already discussed saving now to pay for tuition, still the cost is so steep there really isn’t a way to get ahead of it.
        I am mostly interested in transactional work, maybe M&A since it speaks to my business background (BA in business) and I have an interest in finance/contracts.

        I loved working with attys and have spent time talking to a few I know in practicing in a corporate function in large firms and in-house. It truly sounds like work I’d enjoy and I like reading books about law/economic/business.

        I am pretty sure it would be a good fit but the cost is really making me question if it is worthwhile.

        Thanks for your insights and sorry for the lack of spacing – trying to type on iPhone!

        • North Shore :

          Some businesses will contribute towards tuition if you remain employed when you start law school. Have you checked with your company?

        • I would also think about night school. Remember besides the debt (that grows at a very high interest rate) there is the fact that you are not earning money for 3 years . I am only 25 and happy with my law school choice, and employed (but not at a big salary) and am slightly jealous of my friends who worked after college and can now afford their own weddings/down payments/etc

        • I would advise not to borrow money to go to law school, due to the uncertain employment atmosphere. Have you considered applying for scholarships? Going to a less expensive school? Explore your options, see what’s out there.

        • Anon in NC :

          I would not take out loans to do it. Part – time or scholarships etc.

          • Part time is not substantially cheaper. Most law school’s won’t let part time students take less than 10 credits a semester, and full time is 14 credits. They want people out in 4 years, so all you’re doing is stretching the amount over 4 years instead of 3.

    • Unless you are independently wealthy, law school is a poor investment. Good lawyers have good judgment and taking on debt to go to law school in this economy would indicate a lack of good judgment. Sorry to be so blunt but there is a reason that you are not getting support from those who love you.

      • I’d agree if this were the typical “I don’t know what else to do” college student. My advice re law school is almost always “DON’T DO IT” – and I really do love my biglaw job. But the OP is older, has worked as a paralegal, has a business background, has focused on an area of practice, has work experience and can go to a T14 school. Provided that she works hard and gets good grades, a biglaw firm would snap her up in a heartbeat. If she really wants to practice law, there are still jobs out there for good candidates.

        • I agree, she could go to T14, OR go to a good regional school on probably a full scholarship. Her experience and background is a lot different than a wishy washy liberal arts undergrad who is just prolonging the real world and thinks tv shows/movies make being a lawyer look glamorous.

          And to OP, def do what you can to stand out in your desired practice area…law review article, clinic work etc.

          • Agreed, full scholarship at a respected regional school is a great option, too.

      • Anonymous :

        I completely disagree with this. Good lawyers (or any lawyers) wouldn’t exist without law school, and a mark of a good lawyer is not whether he/she is independently wealthy! To say that taking on debt to fund law school is “poor judgment” is just wrong. I went to a great state law school and lived frugally. I will graduate with about 80k in debt. I will have a career that I love and eventually I will pay off my loans. Think about how many amazing lawyers would not exist if they followed the advice that taking out loans to fund their education was “poor judgment.”

        I would not suggest that anyone go to law school without thinking about it carefully, because it is three years of your life + lots of money, and it puts you on a specific career track that may or not be right for you. But even in this economy (and always) there is a market for excellence.

        In my experience many lawyers who are unsatisfied with the choices they made project that onto others who are excited about entering the field. When I was considering law school I was constantly told it was a horrible idea (even before the economy sucked). If I had listened, I’m sure I would regret not going to law school. I think within the field of law there is a lot of self hate but I want to offer the perspective that you can (not will, but can) have an awesome career as a lawyer and pay off your debt! Please get as much information as possible about it before deciding it’s the right choice though.

        • I agree. I loathed my last career and even though I do have a considerable amount of debt, it was worth it to me not to be doing the job I did before. I went to school a while after I finished undergrad because I did take some time to consider whether I wanted to take on the debt.

    • JJ – Corporette is a great community. I used to constantly read Above the Law, but kind of got sick of the comments on that site. I like being a lawyer, but a lot of folks don’t and it is a tough job market out there. I’ve tried to persuade those closest to me to think long and hard about whether going to law school is a good idea for them. That said, don’t let anyone dissuade you from pursuing your dreams. Just make sure you are making an informed decision. One of my friends who I tried to talk out of going to law school went anyway and has no regrets. Good luck!

    • there has been a lot of discussion here about whether the go to law school, so if you search old entries you should be able to find some.

      for my 2 cents –
      Make a list of the 5-10 places you would realistically like to work when you graduate (longer if its mostly firms) then use your current contacts to set up informational interviews with people there or who recently worked there. Tell them you are interested in law school and ask them about their jobs, day to day, and most importantly hiring – from what schools, do they hire new grads, how many people, what do they look for, how the process works, how do they see the market evolving in the next couple of years. It’s great to do this now, because you aren’t in school yet so you are obviously not asking for a job.

      Coming in as an “older” student with a career prior to law is a huge advantage, especially if you want to practice law in a related field. It won’t “get” you a job, because non-law experience “doesn’t count,” but it’ll get you an interview or an internship. That’s what I did and it worked out great for me, as did a couple of other people. Every single one of my law school interviews asked exclusively about my pre-law career, not any of my (awesome) LS internships. Most of my friends in LS came in with vague ideas and while some are happy with how it worked out, most are unemployed/underemployed/unhappily employed.

  6. Early threadjack:

    I have been obese most of my life (starting around age 9/10). This continued all throughout high school, college, and my early twenties. I was very fortunate to have great friends and peers all of these years — my weight was never an issue with them, I was never teased or bullied, etc. BUT due to both my size and my own body confidence issues, I never dated. I’ve never had a boyfriend and I have zero sexual experience.

    A year and a half ago, I turned my life around and started eating right and working out. I am currently training for a half marathon. I have gone from a size 22 to a size 10 (and I’m still going down). I absolutely love the changes I’ve made and my new lifestyle.

    After years of thinking that Prince Charming will waltz up and make all of my dreams come true, I’ve decided to take a (for me) very bold step: over the weekend I signed up on a dating website.

    I am now absolutely terrified. I’ve had several guys express interest in my profile and message me but I’m too scared to write back. I want to get out there and see what the dating world has in store for me but I am filled with anxiety. How do I tell someone that I am still losing weight so my body is still rapidly changing? Do I even bring that up? How do I explain that at the age of 27 I’m a virgin? Are guys going to judge me still for my size (yep, still got body confidence issues…)

    Anyone else ever been in this position?

    • My college roommate/one of my best friends was in a situation similar to yours. She lost about 175 pounds through weight watchers in college (and did half marathons!.) Once she started losing weight she went on a few dates, but nothing worked out. Her first year out of grad school, when she was at her skinniest, she met a friend of a guy I was dating. They took it slow, dated a while before they were in a relationship, and were in a committed relationship for a while before they had sex (he was her first). She actually then started to gain a lot of weight, but had surgery and is doing well. But the point is she found someone who didn’t care about her dating history, and he stuck with her through weight gain, surgery and weight loss.

      I don’t think there’s any need to bring up that you’re still losing weight and don’t bring up your virginity until things are getting serious. Instead, talk about your half marathons, and your other activities and interests! And don’t seem too anal about dieting. Also, go on a few dates with people you don’t think you’d be that interested in, to get some practice and build up your confidence. Oh and get yourself a toy, if you don’t use one already!

      Congrats on your weight loss and taking a big step in online dating! I wish you the best of luck!

    • Wow, congratulations! I’m sure this is all very scary, but you’re doing an amazing thing for your health and happiness. I’m seriously in awe of you for being able to make such huge changes.

      If it’s any consolation, I dated a bunch and still found online dating initially terrifying. I highly recommend the “let’s just see how this goes and get some practice” approach to it. You may end up liking the guy. And the experience is good for you regardless.

      My only other advice: treat each email and each date as if it’s just a fun thing to do–not as if you’re entire future happiness depended on it–because it doesn’t. And you will probably have to go on lots of dates to meet someone you really connect with but when you do, you’ll know.

      As for being a virgin at 27 (am I right to assume that sex is on the table at some point?), it’s seriously not a big deal. Guys will be curious no doubt, but I don’t think many will care. I know a gorgeous, tall thin blonde girl who was a virgin till she was 25 just b/c she didn’t meet the right guy–and then had only had sex once or twice until she was 30. Now she’s madly in love with her new guy and none of that matters.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Agree with Batgirl. I did the online dating thing for a while and what really helped take the pressure off was to say “yes” to coffee with lots of guys who met truly minimum criteria (i.e. within 5 years down and 10 years up, full time employment or student or both, not super religious, not hideous, and no axe murderer vibe). I didn’t care if Monday turned out to be a total jerk or dud or just didn’t like me much because there was still Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, plus all the ones next week, and hmm, I liked last Tuesday pretty well. When you have a high volume of dates, it really just becomes about “do I click with this person? y/n? no? ok, nice meeting you, best of luck to you in your degree/business/marathon, kthxbai! Next!” And the same thing if the guy didn’t want to see me again. It’s all good. There’s always the next guy.

        It’s none of the guy’s business whether you are losing weight, any more than it is his business if you’re gaining weight. You don’t need to apologize for your size, whatever size you are, by saying that you’re dieting and trying to get smaller. Bull. You owe no explanation.

        There was a very extensive discussion in yesterday’s TPS about a woman older than you who was choosing to remain a virgin. While the discussion isn’t entirely applicable to you, you would see that there are many women who chose to remain virgins into their late 20s or later, and that’s ok. You don’t need to bring it up immediately; it’s nothing to be ashamed of (see above re: not owing an explanation). At some point in your relationship with a guy, it will come up, and you’ll have to be brave and honest, and hopefully he’ll give you the kind and caring response you deserve. If he doesn’t, well, that totally sucks, and figuratively speaking, F that guy. You deserve the best.

        This may set some people off, but I hope you consider therapy as well. Therapy isn’t just for “crazy people” or people with Problems. I think therapy is for everyone – it assists in mental fitness just like the gym does with physical fitness. We *all* need fitness in both areas. It sounds like you’re struggling with some positive but profound changes in your life and how you see yourself, and therapy can really help with that. Therapy and personal training are without a shred of doubt the two best things I’ve ever done for myself, so I encourage you to consider it.

        • Agree with SF Bay, this is such a good way to look at online dating. When you aren’t meeting the person before your first date, it’s really more about volume – it’s not a personal failing if you don’t happen to click with every guy. You’re trying to find the right chemistry.

          And, you aren’t a virgin bc you were obese. You are a virgin bc you haven’t met the right guy, for whatever reason. You have nothing to apologize for or feel weird about. I’d second therapy – it can be such a helpful thing during big life changes. And – congratulations on the healthy life changes and weight loss!!

    • Don’t mention any of this on a first date. You sound great, and anyone who takes charge of their life the way you have is an inspiration in my book. A first date isn’t the time to unload your past, though. Save the deep, heartfelt heavy stuff for further down the road.

      Have fun! And always have money for a cab.

    • Congratulations!

      This is the best piece of advice I’ve ever read about online dating (and I met my husband of 11 years on

    • Hey!

      Never been in this situation exactly (though I must say — even without dramatic weight loss, I think a lot of women are pretty shy about dating and men…I know I was).

      One tip on on-line dating I’ve picked up from my friends, especially if you’re nervous, is e-mail a few times before you meet someone. It helps you get a sense of their personality and just get comfortable with them before meeting them. Then take it slow. :-)

      I also agree with above, don’t mention any of this right away. But it’ll probably be clear that you’re in health mode when people meet you (if you talk about going to the gym, eat right at the date, that sort of thing) which guys will totally love. You’ll probably meet some guys who are doing the same thing if you include things about that in your profile (like include your favorite exercise activities in your interest).

      As far as being a virgin at 27 — i wouldn’t worry about it too much! (And don’t bring it up on the first date!!) Take it slow and once you get physically involved with someone, tell them and be honest about what you do want. As long as you’ve done your groundwork and are hanging out with a decent guy, they’ll probably be cool. :-)

      Congratulations by the way. It sounds like you’re doing great things for yourself!

    • Congratulations!
      Only piece of advice I have is to look for who you want — not just who wants you. I have a friend who lost a lot of weight (similar to you) and, while she was a bit older and wasn’t a virgin, she got serious with the first guy who contacted her (though she did have one date before him) and married him…while we all though “oh ick. he’s horrible.” Sure enough, less than a year later, they were divorced b/c he was cheating on her and she found out. Now she finally will say “you know, I don’t know what I saw in him. We had nothing in common.”

    • First, congrats on teh dramatic weight loss. That’s a great achievement and you should be proud of yourself.
      On the weight part, I have no insightful input other than that a) you should not care, a person who judges you your weight is definitely too shallow to be worthy of your attention (and hey a size 10 isn’t as huge as you may think, it is just a mental image). And b) you do not have to discuss your weight loss with a semi-stranger. You can talk about your plans to run a semi marathon or try a new workout etc. but your weight journey is yours until you feel comfortable enough to discuss it.
      For the not dating thing, I am an observing muslim so will not have sex outside marriage.
      I am 25 and never dated anyone (which is very uncommon for my age group). However, you do not have to feel this is an issue. You will date when you are ready and not just for the sake of dating. Maybe it is at age 27 maybe at 28 but you should by no mean consider yourself a failure for not having had a previous experience.

    • I completely agree with the great advice the commenters above have already given. You should be really proud of what you have accomplished so far! Don’t worry too much about what guys will think. They will notice your healthy lifestyle without you pointing anything out. When you find someone you like, and start a more serious relationship, you can tell him that you struggled with your weight in the past, that it was the reason you avoided serious relationships, and that combination lead to you current level of inexperience. Most decent guys will be understanding of that kind of situation. It is nothing strange or shocking, don’t worry.

      And don’t let it make you nervous about a first date. Just think about those first few dates as a chance to get to know another person. Maybe it leads to a relationship, maybe it leads to a friendship, maybe it doesn’t lead anywhere. So have fun, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself.

    • Anon y mas :

      Drown yourself in first dates with men that don’t seem like your type. I spent the summer of my 30th year going on as many online dates as I could line up. I met a lot of interesting guys – none of whom were relationship material – and it really got me comfortable being on dates, making small talk, and most importantly, handling rejection/no call backs/etc. It’s like job interviews, really, the more you have, the easier it gets and the less you feel like “this one has to be the one.”

      Also – be safe! Seems like a no-brainer, but meet in public and always let someone where you’re going, the full name of your date and even his email/phone number – just in case. My best friend always made me text/call to let her know I’d gotten home.

    • no advice but congratulations on taking such a positive step for your physical and mental health. You should be so proud of your self! What you have accomplished is not easy!

    • Congratulations on your new life style!

      I agree with Batgirl and SF Associate, treat the dates like a potentially fun experience, and don’t get hung up on looking for the perfect guy. Although I didn’t end up meeting any long-term dating partners online, I basically emailed any guys back who were in my age range, not terribly unattractive (many guys take horrible photos and are much better looking in person), wasn’t creepy and had some basic spelling and grammar skills. For a lot of them, by the time we’d exchanged a few emails, I was already bored. The rest I tried at least one date with. If you take some basic safety precautions, then the worst that might happen is you have a funny story for later.

      Good luck, and have fun shopping on what my friend has termed The Man Mall!

    • Anonymous :

      Just 2 thoughts:
      (1) if you’re used to thinking negative things about your body, then those thoughts will continue regardless of the size of your body. Thinking positive thoughts about your body takes training. I lost about 20% of my body weight but grew up thinking “I’m so fat, I look terrible” and no matter what the scale says I get I still look in the mirror and think the same thoughts. So practice building mental confidence!
      (2) if you are capable of having wonderful, long lasting, meaningful friendships then you have all the skills to have a wonderful relationship with a significant other (it’s basically the same as a friendship except there’s also the physical stuff… which we are programmed to do anyway so once you get comfortable it shouldn’t be too difficult). But seriously. when you are meeting people just think of them as potential friends. If you have fun together and like hanging out, then see where it goes!

      • Accountress :

        So much yes to #1. How much someone weighs is not indirectly proportional to how positive someone feels about one’s body.

      • I also think that (1) is excellent advice. If you need help doing this, try therapy- you need to flip the script and therapists can be very good at helping you do that. It sounds simple, but it is very difficult to retrain your mind when it has been running on the same track for decades.

        And congratulations on the weight loss! It truly is impressive, and shows that you have incredible determination and drive. If it comes up in conversation on a date, then I wouldn’t shy away from telling guys (or anyone, really) that you used to be obese. Your weight loss is something you should be really proud of. I suspect the right guy for you will be completely blown away (in a good way) by what you’ve accomplished.

    • All the other corporettes gave excellent advice, so all I have to offer up here are my congratulations on working towards being the person you want to be (inside and out.) You have my admiration. :-)

    • Congratulations, this is incredible work! You should be proud of yourself!

  7. I really like the sweater!

    Random question: Do y’all wash and dry your bath mats in the machine? I always have, but I have to replace my mat every couple of years after it starts looking ratty (and I probably should replace it before that). The one I have right now has finally gone from having threadbare spots to actual holes, and there are lots of loose threads. Should I not be washing them in the machine? Should I be buying nicer brands?

    • I wash them in the machine, hang them to dry. I don’t think you can expect them to last for more than a few years, especially if you have more than one person using that bathroom.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I wash and dry mine and find they last 2-3 years. I probably wash and dry once every two or three weeks. I usually get mine at Target, so I’m not devastated if they don’t last long.

    • I wash and dry mine in the machine weekly, when I wash and dry my towels. I don’t buy ones with any rubber matting or grippies, as I don’t think that would work well in the dryer and it’s important to me to be able to wash them. So basically the ones I buy are just really thick, more rigid towels. I have not had any problems with holes or fraying. I get mine at Home Goods/ Marshalls – they always have a wide variety.

    • If yours have a rubber back, you should hang to dry, but you can still wash them in the washer.

      I like drying mine so I never get the rubber backed ones. I recently upgraded to Restaroration Hardware bathmats (I have 2 that I rotate because I hate doing laundry) and I have to say they are amazing. I bought both at a RH outlet so they were the same price as something from Bed Bath & Beyond, and they are just so much nicer.

      • I just went to go take a peek at the RH website to look at their bath mats.. I have never been tempted to spend $50 on a bath mat before. Gorgeous.

        • How they look’s got nothing on how they feel — amazing! FWIW, I think I paid about $22 for mine at the outlet.

          • Which one did you get? There seem to be four choices:

          • The reversible. That’s actually one of the other nice things about it – midway through I just flip it over and it looks fresh again. The only complaint I have is I went for a white one with color trim and it doesn’t look as great after a few days as a color one probably would have. I can solve the problem if I pick it up to hang on the bathtub ledge when it’s not in use, but for some reason that seems like a hassle.

      • Mine have a rubber backing and I dry them- but only on delicate/low temp. Definitely can’t handle high temps. They are thick, so take a long time to dry alone. Even if they don’t get all the way dry w/ the low temp dryer, it certainly speeds the process. I wash mine every 2-3 weeks, or whenever they start to look grimy. Have had them since August and so far so good.

    • I wash and dry mine when they begin to look dirty (prob. not often enough)…have Pottery Barn ones that have lasted 7 years, no problems.

      • A few months ago I upgraded to a Pottery Barn bath mat for our master BR, and oh my, does it feel awesome. Washes up great, too. That said, I’ve had several bath mats for 7+ years and they’re still basically fine even though they’ve been washed tons.

    • Um, what?! I’m supposed to wash that thing? It honestly never occurred to me. Good grief.

      • Is this serious, cause if so, EWWWWWWW. It’s a wet, damp, on the floor congregation of bacteria and nasty.

        I wash and dry mine once a week in the dryer. They last around 4-5 years. Considering it cost $30 and I step on it everyday, I consider it worth it’s money when I have to replace it.

      • Yeah, I actually didn’t realize you could put the ones with the rubber backing into the washer, so I just beat mine occasionally outside. You know, like a pioneer woman. Using a washer would be really convenient, though.

      • I don’t wash mine very often because I don’t have my own washer, so pay for each load, and like to wash mine by itself because it tends to leave lint on everything.

      • Ha ha. Mine don’t get washed as often as they should. I was thinking this morning that our shower curtain could probably use a date with the washing machine too.

      • I was thinking the same thing! I have a dark red one that I don’t think has ever been washed (over 7 years or so), just vacuumed or shaken out periodically. It looks, feels, and smells fine as far as I can tell.

    • I wash and dry mine in the machine – and it has a backing (not just a thick towel). I get 2-3 years worth of use out of them, too, and need to replace my current one. I’d love to hear the recommendations for brands.

      • AnonInfinity :

        Mine also has a rubber backing, and I put it in the dryer. I hope this is not a fire hazard or something?

      • MeliaraofTlanth :

        Me, too. Just dry it on low. I’ve never caught anything on fire or anything.

        • MeliaraofTlanth :

          Oh, speaking of fire hazards… Smokers, please please please don’t throw cigarettes out of windows and be careful when you’re throwing them out on the street. Yesterday, someone threw a cigarette, presumably out of the window of our building, caught the trash pile in front of the building on fire, and completely burned the car next to the curb, to the point we were mildly concerned it would explode before the fire department put it out. (for non-New Yorkers, there are very few alleys in New York, despite the movies, so trash is piled on the sidewalk for collection)

          • MeliaraofTlanth :

            (and yes, I know that theoretically it’s hard for cars to actually explode, but somehow it’s less reassuring when the one in front of your apartment is on fire)

          • best misplaced comment ever.

          • AnonInfinity :

            I can’t figure out what this is in response to, but I do agree with the sentiment.

          • MeliaraofTlanth’s follow up comment about exploding cars was detached from the bath mat discussion at one point yesterday, and it was kind of hilarious when read out of context.

    • Mine get washed at least every other week, more like every week. I don’t use the towel kind of bath mat, but rather the loopy cotton rug kind, with no rubber backing.

      I find that I have to stick to white so that I can bleach them.

      I replace them fairly regularly, but I don’t spend a lot of money on them. I get mine at places like Marshall’s.

    • I machine wash and hang to dry every couple of months. Mine has a rubber back so it can’t be put in the dryer. Whenever I vacuum, I run the vacuum over it.

      It sounds about right to have to replace it every couple of years. Washing contributes to the wear and tear, but it’s also getting a lot of use every day. I’ve had my current one for 2.5 years and it’s definitely getting threadbare.

    • Mountain Girl :

      This summer when I remodeled the bathroom I splurged for a set of hotel style bathmats that I throw in the wash with my towel. With two teen sons and DH I always think the bathroom mats have a sort of ick factor so I was washing them frequently. While at a hotel one morning I though how much I liked the idea of just tossing the mat in the wash with the towel and found some from a hotel supply shop. They have actually been a good thing for our family so far. I found a nice chrome hotel style shelf and matching chrome basket and just roll them up on the basket, put the towels on the shelf and everything looks pretty and stays clean.

      • I love that I can ask such a random question and get such good responses! This is such a special place. I feel like I can ask pretty much any old random thing that I’ve been wondering about and have a good, thoughtful discussion. Thanks to everyone so much.

      • I kind of do a hybrid. I have a thicker bathmat with rubber backing that I wash every couple months, which is just there for looks. Can’t shake the feeling of disgust if I ever step on a wet bathmat. But I also have a couple of hotel-style toweling bathmat that I put down when I’m showering. Those get washed along the with my towels. Weird? Maybe. Y’all are making me think about this too much!

    • found a peanut :

      Wait…I should be washing my bathmats?

      • haha! I probably wash mine every couple months (maybe even bi annually…). To be honest, if you’re a single female who lives alone it probably doesn’t get that nasty. I find it more important to vacuum the errant hairs that come from styling/blow drying.

        • Ewww. They get disgusting. Feet touch them everyday. You ladies who don’t wash them or don’t think they need to be washed. . . that’s just gross.

          Grosser than not washing your sheets. Ewwww. Note to self after reading this thread, if I ever stay at a friends and shower there I will now ask for a seperate towel to put on the floor since I’m worried they may be like some of you who never wash the bathmat.

          I am sooo grossed out this is actually good for my diet as now I cannot eat lunch just thinking of years of a floor bath mat that was never washed touching feet.

          • Accountress :

            If you were my friend, I’d give you the extra towel you requested- but you should probably ask yourself when the last time I washed my guest towels was.

            Glad to help with your diet!

        • Uh, clean feet. That have just come out of the shower.

          My carpet doesn’t get washed in the washing machine either. Vacuuming seems to do the trick. It also touches feet.

          • You never step on it EVER when in the bathroom other than just coming out of the shower? really?

            And wet human skin that sheds and has bacteria growing on it touching the same rug for months or years without being washed isn’t ok even if clean feet only ever touched it.

            Sorry, but this skeeves me out to no end. It’s truly disgusting to not wash your mat.

          • And in that reasoning you should never have to wash your bath towel too since it only touches clean body. FAIL.

          • Touche.

            I’m just not sure my feet after the shower are the dirtiest parts I ever touch to anything…

  8. Woods-comma-Elle :

    I love the jumper, big fan of cowl necks!

    On a separate note, I know winter is here because my fingertips are a mess. Whenever it gets cold, the skin on my fingertips and around my nails cracks like crazy and I have to show up at work with my fingers covered in band-aids.

    Does anyone else have this problem and, if so, what are your tips (no pun intended)? I have tried all kinds of creams and generally am very good about moisturising my hands, so I really just don’t know what this is all about and how to fix it! It’s very painful, especially when typing (and I appreciate typing probably aggravates it)!

    • I find the only thing that helps is moisturizing multiple times throughout the day. Keep a little container of cuticle cream or hand lotion at your desk at work and when you’re thinking instead of typing, or reading something, or anything that gives you a chance, massage in some cream. At least 2x a day at work, plus before bed and after showering.

    • My husband gave me a gift of one of those glove-and-handcream sets a few holidays ago. I didn’t keep up with it but it worked at the time. You put this really emollient cream on your hands right before bed, then put the cotton gloves on so that the cream doesn’t get everywhere. I also took the opportunity to apply a lot of cuticle oil. You sleep with the gloves on and in the AM, you have softer hands.

    • You should get a parafin wax spa or whatever those things are called. I will look up the name of the one I have when I get home and post it here later. It makes your hands super soft and moisturized, and they will look amazing. It’s really easy to use and actually kind of fun once you get the hang of it. If you use it once a week and moisturize regularly (I agree with the keep some hand cream on your desk idea), you should be okay.

    • I have the same issue with my knuckles. It’s hard to stop the problem, but I do find that certain soaps only aggravate the issue. Foaming soaps seem to be the worst offenders in terms of drying my skin even more. Of course the work soap is foaming, but I can buy moisturizing soaps at home that do seem to help keep the problem from getting out of control. I also keep hand lotion at my desk and use it every night.

      • Good point on the hand lotion at the desk. I keep a bottle right next to my monitor and use it often, especially when I return from washing my hands.

        I get a water rash under my wedding ring this time of year and can only wear it every other day. The lotion helps but does not solve the problem 100%.

    • My 8 yo son has terribly dry hands in the winter (red, painful, cracking skin). We got him a jar of the petroleum jelly – the kind that’s a white, thicker cream, not the nursery jelly. He uses it every night and during the day as needed and it keeps things under control. I’d try that.

    • In addition to all the above, be religious about wearing gloves. I buy a big stock of cheap ones at the beginning of the winter and stick them in the pockets of every coat I might wear. Put them on before you go outside. I’ll bet having a little tube of lotion in your pocket–to apply before you put on the gloves–will help too.

    • Shea butter. Bath and Body works has one that is 100% shea. I add in vitamin e oil. Massage into hands and cuticles every night and you should see a difference :)

    • I suggest this all the time for nails, but try the Sephora cuticle oil pen. It will at least help your cuticles and if you sort of rub it into your fingertips too it might help. I usually paint it generously on my cuticles and nailbed, let it sit a bit, then sort of “pinch” my fingertips to rub it in. It definitely helps with the dried, fraying cuticles in winter.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Thanks all for the tips – that’s a v. good point about wearing gloves, not that I need encouraging as I am always freezing… I have hand cream at my desk and always use it after washing my hands, but again I think washing my hands might also be aggravating the problem, esp. with foamy soaps as was pointed out.

      On the cotton gloves at night thing – I’ve tried this before but they always stay on my hands for about five seconds. Any tips on keeping them on during the night?

      • I like the Jergens hand soap in the winter. I usually see it at dollar stores and walmart. It foams, but I don’t find it drying and it is gentle enough for me to use as a contact lens wearer.

      • I don’t know – mine stay on as they are pretty small but stretchy. Like these

      • 20th Century, Esq. :

        don’t forget to drink a ton of water! This helps me and my skin will just peel off if even slightly offended. Also, I use cuticle oil that I got from Sally Beauty on the cheap. 2-3 times a week during TV time or while on the phone with family (shhh) I rub that oil in so that it will not get all over my bed. It’s avocado smelling and it really helps the tips and cuticles, which seems to be where the problems start on their own unless I scrape my hand on my car or something.

    • Barrister in the Bayou :

      Check out the Aquaphor products by Eucerin; they’re a little heavy, but they do the job.

    • Try moisturizing then either wearing band-aids or gloves at night while you sleep. And start wearing lightweight gloves in the fall to help keep the moisture in your skin. Moisturizes after every time you wash your hands. I use L’Occitane Shea butter cream which is kind of expensive for my budget, but nothing works better.

      Also, if it’s painful to type maybe you should get checked out for eczema. You may need steroid cream or something.

    • Buy those little gloves they have in the beauty section of the drugstore, and rub vaseline or a really heavy moisturizer all over your hands then put the gloves on before sleeping. It’s the only thing that really works for me – I do this two or three times a week. I also try to wash my hands with lukewarm water rather than hot, and avoid alcohol-based hand sanitizer at all costs.

    • Burt’s Bees makes a cuticle balm that is fantastc for winter skin issues that you speak of. I use it at night.

    • Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Cream is amazing in the winter. If your skin cracks, Neosporin will help it heal faster.

      • Anonymous Poser :

        Second, third, fourth and fifth this. Got prescription cream to clear up my eczema the first time, and since then, used the Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Cream (at my dermatologist’s recommendation) and haven’t had to get the prescription, since.

        My dermatologist also recommended that I wash my hands at home using a gentle Dove body wash. I usually buy a cheaper generic, but I’ve found that helpful (and less expensive than a special hand soap), too.

    • I get really dry cracked hands and my knuckles bleed – its gross. The only thing I found that really does the trick is Neutrogena Norwegian hand cream (it’s practically vaseline – so I bet that would work too). I put on a generous layer at night and sleep with cotton gloves. My bf makes fun of me but whatever – it’s seriously painful and gross when my hands bleed. I also keep a small tube of the stuff with me during the day to moisturize as well. Regular lotions are worth nothing to my hands over the winter.

    • I live at a relatively high elevation with cold, dry winters, and my cuticles and knuckles are a nightmare year round.

      I’ve found that wax and petroleum-based products do more harm than good in the long run (I also have unreasonably sensitive skin, fwiw). What helps for me is massaging a combination of vitamin E and jojoba oil into my cuticles once a day, and moisturizing my hands with shea butter every time I wash them.

    • I have this problem too. The only way I can keep it at bay is to use hand cream at work like crazy (especially after washing my hands) and use lanolin on my fingertips/cuticles. I have leftover Lansinoh (lanolin for nursing mothers) from when my son was a baby, and he’ll be 5 in a few weeks, so it lasts FOREVER.

      • That’s brilliant. I have an unused tube of Lansinoh that I’ve been wondering what to do with.

    • I slather myself in avocado oil, from the cooking aisle. My skin loves it.

  9. Every time I try to post about this I get stuck in moderation, so here’s the truncated version:

    small firm offer dinner:
    is red/plum nail polish ok, or should I stick to beige/light pink?

    salary negotiation. It’s a small firm, so I don’t think salary is locked. If the offer is less than I want, I plan to ask for me. If, on the rare chance they offer me a good number, should I still negotiate? FWIW it’s a male dominated practice area, no female partners at the firm. My dad (who’s a lawyer and litigates a lot) says I have to negotiate no matter what bc if I don’t do it for myself how do they know I’m gonna do it for their clients, and that the firm will expect me to negotiate as these people litigate for a living. (I thought about this more since yesterday, and maybe if I like the salary I’ll ask for more vacation? I’m used to getting 4 weeks at my current job and they said it’s 2 weeks.)

    • Agree with your dad that you should always ask for more money. the worst they can say is no. I think it makes potential future employers (especially men) respect you more.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Not to mention that the male incoming associates will always try to negotiate their salaries, and usually succeed. This is one of the reasons that women are paid less than their male counterparts – women don’t try to negotiate their salaries. Don’t sell yourself short.

        If you have enough time, grab a copy of Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, or Lois Frankel’s Nice Girls something something about money, before your negotiation. You’re supposed to start by asking for $x more in salary, even if you “like” the salary for goodness’ sake. You know what you’ll like more than the initial salary offer that you already like? A bigger salary. A man would nicely but smartly ask for more, and so should you. If they counter and won’t raise the $, then start thinking about benefits like vacation, but start with the salary figure.

        • Every time I see the phrase “women don’t try to negotiate their salaries” it bothers me. It seems to somehow like blaming women for the salary gap–although I definitely know that was not your intention, SF Bay Associate.

          Let me get on my soapbox. It is true–women don’t negotiate their salaries–but for good reason. Women are socially punished if they ask for money. Women who try to negotiate are seen as demanding and aggressive, but the same does not apply to men. Google “Ask for a raise? Most Women Hesitate” to see NPR’s explanation of Linda Babcock’s research on this topic.

          I’m not sure what the solution is, but I think women have to approach negotiations differently then men. Less aggressive strategies may work better for us than for men (e.g., I usually find the most success by framing things as win-win so that I seem less focused on my side of the equation). I realize that probably sounds incredibly sexist, but I think that is the real-world reality for now. Off soap-box.

          • proud mom :

            Women don’t negotiate salary? Really?

            When my daughter was interviewing for her first law job, the interviewer started the salary conversation by asking how much she wanted. She asked for an amount she knew was ridiculously out of the realm of possible. Everyone laughed, they had a good disscussion about it, and she got the job.

          • to proud mom: I’m glad that worked for your daughter, but I would not feel comfortable with this tactic. In my current scope of employment I occasionally negotiate business matters with this firm’s clients (ALL male project managers and business owners) so I don’t want to come across inexperienced. I’m also *fingers crossed* hoping to get an offer from a midsize firm that’s in this practice area that has 20+ partners…all male.

            So I think since this is a small firm and such a male dominated practice area I’m going to do my best to be polite, respectful and have good reasons for why I’d want a reasonable amount more.

    • Red/plum nail polish should be ok for dinner, as long as it has no chipping etc.

      In the context you’ve described (small firm, not locked, male dominated), I would try to negotiate salary and vacation. If you haven’t already, research the salaries and benefits that others in your position in your area receive so that you can back up your request. The worst that will happen is that you won’t receive everything that you ask for – but I can’t see how negotiating would hurt.

      You didn’t really mention this, but I’m not certain that the offer dinner is the place to negotiate. I guess it depends on how small the firm is and who is taking you to dinner. But you may want to thank them for the offer, say you are interested in working with them and that you’ll contact whoever is in charge of hiring about the details.

      • Thank you! I’m not sure where/when the negotiation would take place, I guess I was waiting to see the vibe/how the conversation went at dinner. In previous experiences I’ve had better luck negotiating in person rather than over the phone though, and the firm is 100ish miles away from my current location (so idk when I’d see them next.) I guess I have more confidence when I can look someone in the eye and get a better read on them.

        The firm is very small, and I’m not even sure they have a dedicated HR person, all my interview set ups and communication has been with partners.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I also agree that you should ask for more money. They might say no, but at least you will have asked.

      As for nail polish, I think that dark red would be fine.

    • I am mixed on the negotiating. I understand the idea of “ask for more.” On the same token, this is a job offer this isn’t litigation. Maybe negotiate more vacation or negotiate on something besides salary.

      I mention it for this reason. We were recently hiring for a semi-junior associate position at our mainly litigation-based practice. I assume that the candidates wanted us to know they were “good negotiators” so we had many trying to “drive a hard bargain” with their salaries. All it did was drive us away from the bargaining table and onto the next candidate. We finally settled on one that was interested in negotiating start date and benefits but willing to fit into our salary/bonus model. Why? Because we still aren’t in a booming economy. We know just how much we are willing to pay an associate. We want you to come in, prove you are worth what we are paying you. THEN if you want more, we’ll discuss. Before then? No.

      Just another opinion.

    • The lawyer I worked for always negotiated her also-a-lawyer husband’s contract. She always said that only a fool negotiates for themselves. But as you are starting out, your dad may indeed be right.

      • yeah, i’m not a point in my career where I have an agent! (or a husband).

        to SF girl, I know what you mean, I don’t want to be a PITA or appear greedy, but don’t know if i’m screwing myself if I don’t ask. Also, since it’s a small firm I don’t think there’s lockstep advancement (they didn’t talk about that at all yet), so who knows when my next raise may be! But I should find out about all that soon.

      • Hmmm…. It would seem very odd to me if I gave an offer to someone and instead of negotiating salary for himself/herself, the significant other called and tried to negotiate.

        Kelly – I think it is a good idea to negotiate salary. Your father is right. Salary increases are harder to come by once you are employed by the firm. Also, a lot of times the increase is a percentage of your original salary, so the higher the better. I would not drive a hard bargain as if you are dealing with opposing counsel, but do it in a composed, friendly way. If you can justify whatever salary you are aiming for by pointing to comps at other firms, do that too.

      • AnonInfinity :

        I can understand that logic, but I would much rather negotiate for myself than have my husband or father do it. I think that would send the message that I needed a man to do my hard work for me, and that is not an image I want to project at work at all.

        That might not be the message if the woman is a well-known attorney who has many years of experience and is negotiating to lateral as a partner or something similar, but I do think that younger professional women would have to tread very carefully with this strategy.

  10. corazon de melon :

    Another threadjack:

    Ladies, I’m a 3L living in Manhattan with plans to move to Silicon Valley after graduation to start a law firm job in Palo Alto. I hated NYC during my 1L year and was ecstatic to land a job back home in California after OCI. However, now that 1L year is long gone and I actually have some free time to explore the city … I’ve fallen in love with Manhattan. So for all you ladies who have made the cross-country change: How can I get the best of both worlds?

    I’m going to miss the walking around my neighborhood, easy access to stores, bevy of restaurants, and access to culture/activities. Can you recommend some neighborhoods/cities around Palo Alto that will bring me closest to what I am leaving behind? FWIW, I’d prefer to avoid San Francisco.

    • Come join us in the People’s Republic of Berkeley! Two or three key neighborhoods – Gourmet Ghetto, Upper Solano and the Elmwood will have the amenities you’re looking for. Rockridge in Oakland has this as well.

      Of course, the commute to Palo Alto will suck.

      But isn’t downtown Palo Alto just like this? (Except more expensive?

      • No, please don’t live in Berkeley!!! It’s a 2-hour commute to Palo Alto with rush hour traffic. The bridges are horrible during rush hour. You will die with that commute working law firm hours. Agree with SF Girl that there is nothing like Manhattan here, short of living in the city (SF) and even that is pretty different than NY and quite a commute from PA.

        As far as PA, although it’s very different than NY, I think downtown Palo Alto (University Ave and sidestreets) is your best bet if you want to be close to shops and restaurants. University Ave has about 100 restaurants within walking distance as well as stuff you need to run errands, such as CVS, Whole Foods, post office, etc. There are a couple bars too. The downtown area is a very common meet-up place for drinks/dinner, so you will probably be able to walk when going out to meet friends. It’s also borderline walking (and easy biking) distance from Stanford campus (1-2 miles depending on where on campus). Stanford hsa a lot of cultural stuff as well as academic and sports stuff (Go Cardinal!). Downtown is also walking distance from the Stanford Shopping Center, an outdoor mall with high-end shops and more restaurants (and Sprinkles cupcakes!)

        That said, you will probably need a car to get to work, as well as running errands and getting around in general. The worst thing about the bay area (especially compared to NY) is the inefficiency of public tranist. There’ s a train that goes up and down the peninsula but has no east-west component, so only works if you live/work along that line. Then there’s a subway in SF but that doesn’t interface well with the train at all, and isn’t even very good for getting around the city of SF. So a car is basically a necessity here.

        As far as where to live, most people find apartments on Craigslist. I know of a couple luxury, expensive apartments buildings in the downtown neighborhood and there are also a couple nice complexes on Sand Hill Rd near Stanford ( but not quite walking distance from downtown). If money is a big concern, Menlo Park and Mountain View are both considerably cheaper, but the downtowns of both those places are not as nice as PA. They’re not unsafe at all, they just don’t have the same cosmopolitan vibe. I agree with SF Girl – I’d advise you to live as close as work to possible and not focus on the neighborhood. But downtown PA is probably your best bet, based on what you want and because its decently close to both the law firms in EPA and the law firms on Page Mill Rd.

        I live and work in Palo Alto and am happy to answer more specific questions if you have any about neighborhoods or specific housing complexes. Good luck! And welcome! The bay area is wonderful…I think you will love it :)

    • Um, I do not recommend the commute from Berkeley to PA. That would be horrid.

      You should investigate some of the PA area. Stanford is around and there are some nice sort of “hang out” places. It isn’t going to be anything like NYC. It just isn’t. There isn’t the same kind of multiculturalism or pace that NYC has. Silicon Valley, which is actually from PA southward, has its own vibe, but it is no NYC. Berkeley, which is a decent distance away, has another vibe. SF, another vibe.

      That being said, I presume you are going to be working in the cluster of firms right in the EPA area. There isn’t much in the way of “culture” there. You are going to either have to live in SF and commute down, which is a problem because the law firm cluster isn’t right on a mass transit line, or you are going to have to cave and live near work and deal with getting your culture in on the weekends by driving into the city.

      I will say this. As a first year, my guess is you aren’t going to have oodles of time to be worrying about the local culture. I would focus on living close to work.

      Don’t despair though. You will find that there are heaps and heaps of things to do out here in the Bay Area. And you will fall in love with it all over again if you haven’t already.

      Just my two cents.

      • Hey SF
        My ex husband commuted all the way to Sunnyvale from Berkeley.

        It did suck (as I mentioned) but lots of people do it.

        You’re right about the different cultures in the Bay Area. I recommended Berkeley not just because I live here but because the OP is looking for cultural events, and outside of SF, we’re the only other Bay Area hub for that.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Mamabear, I cannot agree at all with your advice that she live in Berkeley if her job is in PA. That is nuts, and I shudder just thinking about a commute from Sunnyvale to Berkeley. That’s awful.

          Corazon, I strongly recommend against any bridges in your commute. The SF-PA commute alone made me practically homicidal after sitting in traffic for 3.5+ hours a day, and a bridge will be worse. It’s a lot better off peak, but as a first year, you probably will be expected to keep normal hours, like 8 to 6 (or much later, of course), which puts you smack in rush hour.

          There’s nothing like Manhattan out here. Sorry. You can try to commute from SF to PA, but it depends on if your firm is close enough to 280 if you drive, or CalTrain if you mass transit it, and if you live right by 280 or Caltrain. It’s 101 that’s the total nightmare. Try SF for a year if you can and see if you can deal with the commute. Otherwise, the other big-ish downtown areas are PA and Mountain View, but again, they are nothing like Manhattan.

    • Palo Alto is pretty cool, actually, and there are a lot of neighborhoods where you could easily walk to shops, cafes, etc. – especially anywhere near University Ave. The other cities near Palo Alto are more sprawling and suburban-y, and not as well-suited to walking. Palo Alto is very pretty and has a lot of personality and interesting people, and you might find that the tree-lined streets and laid-back vibe are a nice change from Manhattan. And there’s some interesting nightlife to be had there – lots of restaurants and bars, some live arts things, movie theaters, stuff at Stanford, and even some nightclub-looking places. And SF is just 45 minutes away.

      • corazon de melon :

        I lived in Berkeley for 5 years and I love the vibe — but as some posters have noted… its a grueling commute. Not something I want to deal with my first year at work.

        Hmm… I may have to reconsider living in San Francisco. Originally, I did want to live in SF bc I like the idea of driving home whenever I please and not being tied to CalTrain. During the summer, I lived in Santa Clara and had a glorious 20 minute commute on the 280 — the neighborhood seemed safe, but a little sad for permanent living.

        I was secretly hoping that there would be some sort of hidden gem closer to San Jose or in the area between PA and SF. I appreciate everyone’s input, thanks!

    • Corazon de Melon,

      Feel free to email me at [email protected] (that’s my latest anon gmail) to get more advice. I work in Silicon Valley at a big, biglaw firm and can give you some advice (have been in the Valley for about 4 years). I always advise my group’s big firm hires from NYC that there are really only two neighborhoods that offer a “walk to a high street similar to NYC neighborhood vibe”–downtown palo alto and downtown san mateo. Otherwise, you really have a “wow–I am super-duper in the ‘burbs” adjustment, coming from NYC. Redwood City is gentrifying near downtown, but there’s still not much there at night, except in summer.

      It is possible to commute from SF to Silicon Valley, and lots of associates in my office do it. However, you really need to pick your neighborhood in SF–Noe Valley/Cole Valley/Glen Park or near SoMa are best. However, if you live near SoMa, you have to deal with Ballpark traffic and a fratastic weekend scene, and, frankly, it’s not very neighborhoody (and rents are ridiculous–most of the Avalon buildings are around $2500/mo, plus parking, plus utilities). Also, and this is very key–you will have to adjust your work hours for the commute. Most biglaw associates will either be of the early vein, and you really need to be on the road by 7/715 to get down to SV by 8ish (which is “no traffic) or you need to leave around 9 and get in around 10. And, going home, you can’t really leave before 645 or 7 without sitting in traffic for hours. This actually can work pretty well, depending on your group/facetime/0ffice politics. Most SV offices have great “work from home” policies and folks will usually log on for a bit in the AM and then head down around 9.

      Also, Caltrain is not a realistic option–all trains after 7pm are “local” and take 1 hour and 15 minutes to get from the Palo Alto area to SoMa and then you have to tack on your “in the City” SF commute.

      Hope this helps.

      You will find biglaw in Silicon Valley is not less stressful than NYC, but quite different hours–there’s a lot more of come in, work hard, get home to see your kids/SO and log on later mentality. NY is much more “stay in the office and get it done.”

      Enjoy the move!

      Also, Berkeley is crazy, crazy, crazy for a SV office associate. No way. You will die. 880 traffic regularly means 2+ hour commutes each way. Don’t even consider it. (And I say this as a friendly Cardinal who loves Berkeley–it’s just too far to be realistic!)

      • PS–If you are looking in Palo Alto, check out also try emailing [email protected] (that’s my old landlord)–she has a ton of buildings in downtown PA and Menlo Park.

    • SV in House :

      I have done the SF to SV commute for 10 years. The only thing that keeps me sane is (1) leaving early on both ends (5 am and 4pm) and (2) working from home ~ 2 days per week. Oh, how I miss my yellow HOV sticker. I am guessing that as a first year, you will not have the same flexibility that I do, so I would recommend living closer to the office. FWIW, we lived in San Jose the first year we were in CA and absolutely hated it — there is more of a downtown now, but not much.

      • I’m in Rockridge, Oakland and have some neighbors and friends that commute to PA/Stanford. They are not happy about it and it’s a grueling commute. I think (as other posters said) that you won’t be able to rely on Bart/Caltrain due to the hours you’ll be working. Have you thought about Burlingame? It has a cute little downtown area, and is not too far from PA and close enough to the city/East Bay to go there on the weekends…

  11. Okay, I’m not sure how many of you will remember this, but a few weeks ago, I was debating whether or not to keep texting this guy that I’d gone out with once, who kind of seemed to be blowing me off but kept periodically texting.

    I didn’t respond to his last text (which was a full week after my last one)–and that other guy I met and liked? Well, we finally had our first date last night and I am already crazy about him and he’s just generally awesome and does all the things he’s supposed to do (I already got the “I had an awesome time” email).

    Thanks for your advice, all!

  12. SV in House :

    And another threadjack —

    We are having a harvest celebration at my daughter’s school, with families bringing in dishes from their culture. We’re bringing a Russian dish that is similar to tortellini, that we usually just add a little butter to before serving. I am concerned that while it waits in the crockpot during the performance, all of the pasta will stick together. Anyone know how to prevent that? Thanks!

    • I might add a tablespoon of olive oil or unsalted butter after it’s done cooking, and stir to coat the pasta, just to lubricate the outside of the pasta and keep it from sticking.

    • Always a NYer :

      A very light sprinkling of olive oil (or your preferred type of oil) to coat it all should keep it from sticking while it waits to be served.

    • I’ve never tried it, but the internet also recommends running the pasta under cold water to get rid of extra starches and then the olive oil recommended above. Then presumably it would re-heat in the crockpot while it waits?


    • The other suggestions are great too (rinsing does help, as TC suggested), also, a tiny bit of water in the bottom, with the lid on to create steam, should help, too.

    • If its pelemeni, can you go the sour cream and vinegar route instead and add the vinegar first (to lubricate). Yum! Whatever it is, I’m ready for lunch:)

  13. I totally love this cowl neck top. This would be a perfect complement to my casual clothing look this season.

    • Found another similar top for a better price at check them out if you like.

      • This is hilarious.

        I gave the side-eye to Karen #1 because the comment seemed kind of weird and non-content-y. Then Karen #2’s response confirmed that it was, indeed, weird.

  14. Comportment Help (repost from late yesterday) :


    I desperately need advice and practical tips. (Thanks to those who responded late yesterday.)

    We are going to a family dinner this weekend. It is my husband’s former wife’s family (don’t ask). My stepkids will be there. We must attend.

    What tactics do you use to keep a pleasant smile on your face, sweetness in your words and the “tone” out of your voice?

    My stepkids’ mom lies and manipulates. The kids don’t see it yet. (The older one is beginning to suspect that what mom says isn’t always true.) The kids will see only my comportment, not the substance or truth/non-truth of anything that is said. So I must remain all sweetness and light no matter what.

    So far, my strategies include:

    * no drinking
    * remembering that she can say whatever she wants, but that doesn’t make it true
    * remembering how much I love my husband
    * remembering how much I love loving my husband (I might express this more graphically were it not for fear of moderation).

    But I just know that at some point during dinner, she will say something so outrageous that my litigator antennae will go up and I will be dying to recite 27 reasons, complete with dates and witnesses, that she is wrong. I CANNOT DO THIS or I will lose in the kids’ eyes and the rest of her family’s eyes. I must be beyond reproach.

    Desperate for any tips.

    • Pretend you’re acting. Give yourself a little character speech before the dinner – e.g., you are pretending to be the kind of woman who is super charming and sweet and smiley… Think of the lead character from Enchanted or whatever works for you. Then act your heart out and go love your husband like never before after.

      • Comportment Help :

        Enchanted! That’s a perfect visual. Thanks.

      • Anonymous :

        I like this suggestion, as well, and think it might come in handy over the holidays with my in-laws . . .

    • Strategic seating is very important. Sit as far away from her as possible. Frequently at large dinners, conversation breaks up into little groups. Seems like the less you hear from her, the better. Also, no lingering once the meal is over. Hopefully, your husband knows how you feel about going and will not be looking to linger over coffee.

    • Every time she speaks, before you respond in any way, breathe in and out and say to your self, “I will take the high road.” I have quite the temper and this works for me when dealing with people who consistently get on my nerves.

    • Try to remember all of the things that you have posted and what you have to lose. Maybe print out the responses and if you feel the need to say something inappropriate excuse yourself to the restroom and read through it to calm yourself down.

    • I had to do one of those dinners with my SO’s ex-wife’s family….my sympathies. She’s not a liar or hostile to me, but it was nerve-wracking, since it was all her side, us, and his daughter.

      I like the suggestion of pretending you’re acting…accept it for the surreal experience it is.

      Perhaps store up a few sickly sweet stock phrases in response to her outrageous comments? “Isn’t that nice?” “How interesting?” (and if you’re feeling like channeling your inner Southerner — “Well bless your heart” — I couldn’t get away with that one with a straight face, but I’d LOVE it if someone could!)

      I just acted like butter couldn’t melt in my mouth and killed them with kindness.

      The weirdest part about the whole thing however was the hug from the ex-wife’s then husband.

    • think southern belle. When she says something ridiculous let yourself think “bless her heart” take a deep breath and don’t respond. I’m a yankee but I’ve found that letting myself say “bless her heart” in my head takes some of the ice/aggression out of my face and voice.

      • Especially because anyone who has lived in the southeast knows “bless her heart” usually means “why I oughta cut that bitch!”

        I kid.

        Only sort of.

    • Write out how much you love your husband, and what you have to lose (in a positive manner, like happy memories), tuck it in your pocket or handbag, and make periodic trips to the bathroom to recoup and refresh.

    • Seattleite :

      Pretend you’re an anthropologist – you are observing and collecting data, and your Prime Directive is to NOT alter the culture of the natives.

      Remember your stepchildren, who will one day be gobsmacked by the realization that their mom lies and manipulates, and will be grateful for your steadiness.

      Make a drinking (or ‘loving?’) game out of her more egregious offenses.

    • Anonymous :

      Think about how you are killing her with kindness. Remember that it’s not for her, it’s not about her. The ‘nicest’ wins. Win!

    • I’ll admit that this is a juvenile suggestion, but try to think of every lie and manipulation as a “point” for you, everytime you repress a negative statement that pops into your head as another “point” and give yourself two points for responding positively (e.g. with a smile). Even if you don’t keep score, viewing the whole event as a game might help you detach from it a bit.

    • All the above suggestions are great, but remember to go easy on yourself. This is a very difficult situation and few people would be able to pull it off with perfect charm. If you have to just stay quiet and give a tired smile now and then to reassure your family, that is also a success in my book.

    • Do you do yoga? If so, channel that “find your center” focus you use in balance postures and the like, where you just sort of blur out the surrounding world. You might seem a little distant, but it will keep your inner litigator from getting riled up. Distant and calm/serene is far preferable to looking petty or aggressive.

      If you don’t do yoga, that is probably not helpful. Just go to your happy place, mentally. Same idea.

    • Comportment Help :

      Dear ‘Rettes,

      Thank you so much for all your suggestions. I love them all, and I’m sure each will come in handy at different times during the evening.

      I plan to print them out and carry them in my purse.


    • Comportment Help :

      Dear ‘Rettes,

      Many thanks for all your thoughtful — and in some cases hilarious — suggestions. I am sure they will all come in handy. I am printing them out and putting them in my purse!

  15. This may have been covered last night but Facebook has a printable coupon for Banana Republic for up to 5 full-priced items at 50% off, in stores only. I’m going at lunch today – any recommendations for what to buy? I never buy full price stuff except for a sale like this, so I have been stalking the sales and not looking at full priced items yet. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the tip — I printed it out and am going to stop by on my way home from work!

    • I can’t say what to look for, but I’ll just say that I got a suit (jacket and pants) and since someone had returned some tall sizes, I got a tall jacket too!

  16. Unpopular opinion: cashmere itches me. I don’t like it.

    • I don’t either. I thought I was the only one. Plus my hands sweat a lot and the fuzz from cashmere gets stuck to my hands and then inevitably ends up in my nose, mouth, etc.

      • springtime :

        Same! It is impossible to find thicker non-wool sweaters in the winter, too. I just end up freezing in thinner summer cardis all winter long.

    • Same here! Other fabrics that itch: wool, angora, mohair….

  17. I just tried to look on Meetup to connect with other professional women and there are only 3 meetup groups in my city – none are what I am looking for. Does anyone have any other ideas??

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