Wednesday’s TPS Report: Darryl Midi Dress In Stripe

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

Whistles Darryl Midi Dress In StripeI’m really digging the simplicity of this wool blend dress from Whistles, available at ASOS. I like the stripes, and the casual, non-va-va-voom nature of the dress, mixed with fun details such as the directional change at the neckline and the cuffs. For the office I’d wear this with an opera-length necklace, doubled, a more structured, wider belt than what’s shown here. With warm weather I’d go for nude-for-me pumps, but in colder weather (for a more casual office) I might try black tights with brown knee-high boots. It’s $136.35 at ASOS. Whistles Darryl Midi Dress In Stripe

(Do note — for some reason with the smaller picture it looks like there’s a psychedelic aspect to the stripes — they’re just stripes.  Honest.)

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


  1. I like. Looks like it’d be as comfortable as wearing pajamas to work. But I think the lack of vavavoom is due to the model’s body type, which is straight up and down. For a more curvy woman, this dress would definitely go into the vavavoom territory.

    • Agreed, and I think the horizontal stripes would only accentuate the effect. That said, if I saw this in the store I suspect I’d at least want to try it on…

      • I LOVE it so much!

        Also, its Rosa! The model could be my SISTER, Rosa! While she is much slimmer then me, we both have the SAME cheekbone’s and hair.

        They say NOT to wear Horizonetal stripes if you want to look slim, but this is an excepteion. I am going to buy 2. One for me, and one for Rosa.

        • FOOEY! All they have is size 2 in stock! FOOEY!

          Why is Kat recomending something that only has size 2’s availeble.


          I will only get 1 for Rosa. She is a size 2. I am a size 6. FOOEY!

  2. For all who were asking about changes to DC Metro benefits yesterday, the Examiner had an article summarizing the changes:

  3. Skin Care Novice :

    Early threadjack:

    Ladies, right now I take very poor care of my skin, so I’m looking for a full skin care regimen. I’ve seen the numerous past comments about Clarisonic that I ususally breeze past without reading, and while I am planning to go back and review those and then probably buy a Clarisonic, I’m wondering what else I need to do.

    Right now, I wash my face twice a day with soap and water, and then apply very minimal make-up in the mornings. That’s it. I know I need to do things like moisturize and apply sunscreen and probably many other things, but with all the various skin care products out there I don’t know where to start! So could anybody recommend a start-to-finish skin care regimen that I could start following?

    Thanks so much!!

    • I think your responses will be most helpful if you post what your concerns are. Acne? Anti-aging? Dryness? Etc. Might want to include your age range too.

      • Skin Care Novice :

        Thanks, good thinking! I’m in my late twenties. Anti-aging and dryness are at the top of my list of concerns. I had bad acne as a teen, but thanks to years of birth control (and probably age), it’s much less of a concern now. I just do not want to be one of those women at 50 who curses herself for not taking better care of her skin in her 20s and 30s.

        • FWIW, my mom has dry skin and she’s 53 and has awesome skin (except for dryness being worse in the winter). I have never seen her use face products, she probably jsut puts regular lotion on her face or something. She avoids the sun like the plauge though.

          I personally don’t have dry skin, and I don’t know how much you want to spend on skin care. I’d start out with a good gentle cleaner (e.g. purpose or cetaphil), an SPF cream for day (neutrogena or aveeno are good, i actually love this avon solutions day lotion) and a night cream. I don’t use any anti aging stuff yet but I heard good stuff about some olay creams, and the cheaper olay version of the clairsonic thing.

          If you’re willing to spend more money go to a clinique counter, but jsut start with the basics (cleanser, toner, sunscreen, night lotion), unless you really thingk you need an eye cream too.

          Also, philosophy purity is a great gentle cleanser.

        • I don’t think there is anything wrong with soap and water. It works just fine for lots of people. If your concern is dryness, then just get a good moisturizer and start applying it after you wash your face. I like Clinique’s famous yellow moisturizer (sorry, I don’t know its actual name) and have been using it since about your age. You don’t need to use a lot, just ensure that you use it every day, and apply it to your decolletage as well as your face. That should stand you in good stead for the next few years at least.

        • Research, Not Law :

          I found I needed to change my products in my mid-twenties. My skin’s needs were different. I moved from my acne-prevention routine (frequently using Safeguard soap – so effective! – and some moisturizer that I’ve forgotten) to a gentle-care routine.

          I wash with warm (not hot!) water in the morning, apply moisturizer, then make-up. At bedtime, I wash with soap and water and apply moisturizer. Every few days to once a week I use an exfoliant. I’m using plain glycerin or castile soap, a Neutrogena moisturizer, and St Ive’s (spelling?) apricot scrub. Nothing fancy; all drug store brands. I’ve tried many others, including some spendy brands, but these are what felt good on my skin. Ultimately, I think that’s the measure of a good routine/product: Your skin should simply feel good.

          I’ve known a couple of dermatologists, and they say that the most important thing you can do for your skin is to avoid sun damage with SPF and shade.

    • I’ll offer up my skin care regime! I have sensitive skin, fine lines around my eyes developing–age 32.

      I wash my face with Olay sensitive skin wash most days but switch in Proactive cleanser about twice a week–more than that would be too harsh, but it really exfoliates my skin and makes it shine. Then I use Olay spf 15 sensitive skin moisturizer and Clinique All About Eyes, well, around my eyes. That’s about it. I may buy the Olay clarisonic rip-off soon.

      • It seems people with fairly good skin don’t need the clarisonic or the Olay. I have very acne-prone skin, and the Olay brush has worked wonders on my face.

        I wash with my hands in the morning and put on Cetaphil SPF 15 face lotion, and then makeup. In the evening before going to bed I wash with my Olay brush, then put on a thick moisturizer for sensitive skin (I switch around a bunch…but based on these recommendations will be trying Paula’s Choice).

        It’s more than nothing, but it’s small enough I can live with it.

        • Second washing hands before putting stuff on your face. I can’t emphasize enough how important this is for acne-prone women! Get the germs and bacteria off your hands before you touch your face!

          (I was almost 30 by the time I figured this out.)

    • My dermatologist told me it’s all the same, it’s all marketing, and none of that stuff really does anything. Cetaphil makes a nice bare bones moisturizer that you could add on to your routine if you’re troubled by dry skin, or if you get one with a sunscreen use it just in the morning – but if you’re working in an office all day it’s unlikely you’re getting a ton of sun to begin with.

      She and the insanely expensive facialist I went to (wanted to get both sides of the argument) both said the Clarisonic is useless, except that the facialist said it makes you wash your face for longer, which helps because most people rush it. Otherwise you’re really not doing anything wrong except perhaps thinking skincare ads are based in fact. ;-) Hope this helps.

      • This has always kind of been my suspicion. I wash my face with a bar of soap (the same soap I use on my body) in the shower. I use a drugstore moisturizer with SPF in the mornings. I don’t wear foundation or powder or anything like that. I splash water on my face before I go to bed. My skin looks fine.

        On the other hand, I’m 27 and have always had pretty good skin. As I get older I might change my mind and start using some of these fancier things, in case they work, although it does seem likely that much of it is marketing.

        In any case, a couple of the most beautiful older women I know do not have extensive skin care regimens. I know it sounds hokey, but their kindness and intelligence really do make them beautiful, even if they do have wrinkles.

        • This is exactly my regimen, and I am 48. Wash face with Dove soap in shower. Drugstore SPF 15 moisturizer. No makeup. I also have good skin genes, judging by my parents’ 70ish year old skin. My mother also follows this simple regimen. It is so hard to know whether avoiding makeup and products keeps my skin clear and nice, or if I can just get away with the former because I am lucky to have the latter.

          The only additional thing I do is microdermabrasion about once every 6 months. I find that sandblasting the outer layers off makes my face feel silky smooth. I was hoping the Clarisonic would mimic the effects of microderm, but maybe I should just stick with what works.

        • S in Chicago :

          I have acne-prone skin and have tried antibiotics, retinoids, laser treatments, routine microderms, Clarisonic, and a host of high-end creams at various points. Some approaches have made a huge difference and some very little. I’m currently using epiduo at night (prescription cream of benz peroxide and a retinoid) and a phytogel cleanser my derm recommended–and my skin has never looked better. Finally!

          What I’m getting at is saying that I’m jealous of everyone who can have such a simple routine. But that it certainly doesn’t mean the rest of it is all hocum. I really have seen the good and bad along the way (for me). I think results really vary. Regular soap (even Dove) absolutely burns my face and always has. Many sunscreens have triggered breakouts (while been totally fine for my friends). I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all answer to what works.

        • Anonymous :

          Bar soap often leaves a film on my face that I don’t like, so I prefer foamy liquid soaps. As for moisturizer, I’ve found that drugstore moisturizer works fine on my face (even if it’s not specifically for the face). Sometimes I apply two coats (10 minutes apart).

      • That’s interesting. My dermatologist said Cetaphil is good for sensitive skin, and nothing else. Because the product is pretty much useless, and they don’t use top notch ingredients. It’s only recommended by other dermatologists because it doesn’t irritate just about anyone’s skin.

        Who knows? I can tell a difference with better product, Cosmedicine makes about the best moisturizer that I’ve ever used. I don’t mind spending a bit more, I’ve only got one face.

        • Middle Coast :

          I beg to differ on the uselessness of Cetaphil. I have rosacea and was advised by my dermatolgist to only use Cetaphil moisturizer as it would not exacerbate the rosacea. My skin is very dry and the Cetaphil does a great job on keeping it moisturized.

          • I think that would fall under the “sensitive skin” category she mentioned…

      • My dermatologist also said not to use the clarasonic, and to wash with moisturizer rather than soap if your skin gets dry.

      • Hmm. I realize this is anecdotal, but the Clarisonic has gotten rid of my acne, when nothing else did the trick — retin-A, ProActiv, drugstore cleaners, etc. So… not useless for me!

        • lostintranslation :

          Yes me too. It’s definitely reduced the number of active pimples and generally calmed my skin down -> I pick at it less -> vicious positive improvement cycle. If I had skin like the OP, I wouldn’t bother though.

        • same for me, you’re not alone!

        • The Clarisonic has helped my rosacea more than anything else has. I now use my prescription meds 3 times a week instead of 2 twice a day, every day.

          I envy the people who can wash with bar soap & water and basically do nothing, and have their skin look great. Mine is not that way.

          And can I just say that I hate Cetaphil? It has always made my skin look wretched. For a drugstore cleanser, I like Purpose.

      • I wish my experience mirrored this sentiment. I am in my late 20s and have had extremely picky, acne prone skin since I was a teen. I can definitely tell a difference between products, and the one time I tried to wash my face with real soap when I forgot my face wash, my face cracked so badly that it burned for several days. I do not recommend regular soap for ladies with sensitive skin. :-/ I’m also a big clarisonic fan.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Hmmm, I noticed once I started using my Clarisonic, I need to visit both the dermatologist and the aesthetician far less frequently…. Could be some conflict of interest in their opinions.

        I’m 43, and people are generally astonished when they find out as they tend to think I am at least 10 years younger. I wash in the morning with plain warm water, and moisturize with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer. At night, I use my Clarisonic every 2-3 days, and moisturize with Kiehl’s Creme d’Elegance in winter, or my same Ultra Moisturizer in summer. I use Cle de Peau Cleansing Cream. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s wonderful if you have dry skin, and a half a pea size is enough for whole face/neck. Shopping for an eye gel I like. I used to use Kiehl’s Eye Stick, but looking for something to pat on, not rub. Going to pick up some samples soon.

        • The “conflict of interest” argument really irks my doctor friends (thought I’m not a doctor, so just repeating their sentiments) who went into the business to help people (and do, every day of their lives), just to hear people suggest conflicts of interest when something like this pops up. If you have a good doctor, s/he wants you to be healthy and have good skin (or whatever else you’re being treated for), probably has more patients than time, and would be elated if your visits decreased due to decreased need.

          • Yes, the derm basically told me “come back when you have skin cancer.” It made me feel like a bit of a twit for wasting her time, but I guess that’s preferable to having smoke blown up one’s fanny.

          • Divaliscious11 :

            Medicine may be a calling but it is also a business. Any service provider relies on two things, repeat business and referrals. Anyone who tells you they want to see a paying customer less frequently is “blowing smoke up your fanny”….

    • Legally Brunette :

      I agree that all of the skin care info can be overwhelming. At a minimum, you need to wash your face in the evening with a cleanser (not soap that you use for your body, I can’t tell if that’s the kind of soap you use). I use Paula’s Choice, which is inexpensive and comes highly recomended by others on this site. The other must is that you need to start wearing sunscreen/moisturizer with at least SPF 30, with a higher SPF in the summer. This is so crucial for protecting your skin. Neutrogena makes a good one that you can buy at the drugstore.

      Another extra: If you’re over 25, consider going to a dermatologist and getting a prescription for low strength Retin-A. It’s the best way of getting rid of fine lines and staving off wrinkles.

      So bottom line – use a good cleanser and sunscreen/moisturizer every day and you should be good to go. Extra credit for using Retin-A at night.

    • Go see a *good* esthetician and get a facial. If acne is your concern, get a deep cleansing facial. Ask for their advice. I got one of the best facials of my life a few days ago. My pores are breathing again, and my skin looks and feels better than it ever has. You have to start with a clean slate really.

      She recommended that I wash my face morning and night (at the sink, not in the shower). Then use an exfoliant in the morning. It stays on all day, and I do not wash it off. I follow that with moisturizer. She recommended Aveeno for the moisturizer if you’re going with a brand you can buy from a CVS or something, and cautioned against going too cheap for product. You can follow that with your makeup. In the evening, remove makeup first, then wash your face, then apply a moisturizing night cream.

      Whatever your concern may be, I highly recommend seeing someone for their assistance. I’ve been using clearing scrubs, and blackhead removal creams for months to no success. According to the esthetician, you can’t effectively clear clogged pores yourself, once they reach a certain point.

      For anyone in the Atlanta area, I went to Spa Fiori in John’s Creek. Deep Cleansing Facial was $90, and was easily the best money I have ever spent at a salon. I wish I lived in Atlanta so I could go more often.

    • Toner!

      I use the Paula’s Choice skin balancing system and it is AMAZING. It has made an incredible difference in my skin in the six months since i began using it. If you have combination skin, I highly recommend it. She makes products for different skin types too, but haven’t tried those.

      • SoCal Gator :

        Let me also put in my positive review of Paula’s Choice products. I use her full line of skin care — cleanser, toner, BHA exfoliant, moisturizer and sunscreen. The products are excellent, easy to use and of a quality comparable to department store cosmetic line face care but not quite as expensive. As mentioned, she has products for all skin types and quite a lot of useful information on her website. Just google Paula’s Choice (she is also known as the Cosmetics Cop). You also can buy samples to try her products to see how you like them before investing any substantial sums.

        • The person behind Paula’s choice also puts together the Beautypedia – which is a full on review of the benefits, claims, and effectiveness of many of the cosmetic products on the market. I believe she is a dermatologist (hence, knowledgeable), so the reviews carry some weight. There are also some articles about what works (and doesn’t) for different regimes and skin (like acne-prone, etc.)

          There is a subscription fee ($25-ish for the year) but retailmenot had a coupon when I last signed up. I found it to be an interesting read, and helpful for determining what would actually be helpful for me.

          • I think beautypedia is free now. I used to pay the subscription fee, too.

          • dc 'rette :

            Beautypedia is free now! I find it to be hit or miss – I think the criteria they use to rate things is a bit arbitrary, but if you read the reviews instead of just looking at the ratings it’s useful.

            Also, i don’t think Paula Begoun is a dermatologist. She’s had a long career in the skin care and cosmetic industry.

          • You’re right! (I just checked again). Totally check it out for reviews about effectiveness and cost of products.

          • Third. I’m now using mostly Paula’s products, plus a rotary cleaning brush and my skin has really improved!

    • Very Basic Skincare Routine:
      1) wash your face 2x a day with cetaphil (cheap, basic, works – you can also buy the drugstore generic) and water.
      2) pat dry, apply a light moisturizer with sunscreen in it for AM (see – Neutrogena, cetaphil, other drugstore brands, and perhaps a slightly thicker moisturizer for PM. same brands)
      3) put on your minimal makeup as usual.

      There are endless variations on this depending on your specific skin issues (acne, oil, wrinkles, dry patches, etc) but that’s a good start.

      I disagree with the idea that skin products do nothing. You will not regret washing your face, using sunscreen, and wearing some moisturizer. It doesn’t take much. Unless you’re blessed with unusually resilient skin, I think it is worth the effort.

    • I have been on a skin care kick lately, too. You don’t say what kind of skin your have or how old you are. From my own experience, my take away is that less is usually more, at least at my age (30). So I try to keep it simple. Gentle facewash (I like Origins’ Checks and Balances and Aveeno’s Sensitive Skin Foaming wash); wash your face at night (with clarisonic or not); moisturize (again, I go with something simple, w/o SPF for night. Currently it’s just Oil of Olay sensitive skin beauty fluid; in the past I really liked ); apply some sort of eye cream (I use Origins’ Starting Over). Because my skin started to break out in my late twenties (fun!), before my moisturizer, I also apply a small amount of prescription Retin A. It’s also supposed to be good for wrinkles, but if your skin is not giving you problems, you can likely skip this step.

      In the morning, I usually just wash my face with water and apply a moisturizer with SPF (Origins’ Perfect World) and a de-puffing/dark circles eye cream (Origins’ Eye Zing). Washing in the morning, usually dries out my skin, esp. in winter.

      For dryness or irritation, I use a dab of argan oil, as needed (Galenic Argane Precious Oil – per yesterday’s thread, I looked it up)

      Once or twice a week, I usually exfoliate with a gentle scrub (Avene Sensitive Skin) and I try to do a mask once/wk (Galenic deep cleansing clay mask). Masks make a world of difference for me. I always do this before big events and also use primer before makeup. The combination = glowly, dewy skin for me. Recently, though, I finally got a clarisonic and I haven’t done either a scrub or mask since. My thoughts on the clarisonic so far: it’s not miraculous for me yet, but in roughly 8 days of use, my skin feels much softer (immediate result), and my pores are starting to look clearer and somewhat smaller (the smaller part might be in my mind).

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’ve posted before that I love using the Red Light Therapy machine at Planet Fitness. It is free with my membership. It really evens my skin tone, prevents breakouts, and is supposed to fill in/prevent wrinkles and bags. It is a collagen booster.

      I may have posted anon before about this but I now have to wear a CPAP machine when I sleep. It is totally worth it but really rough on my skin. I get indents and red marks from the mask. (Side note for anyone else with this problem, I bought the sample REM ZZZ’s and then made them myself using one as a pattern. You can buy similar fabric at a craft store for 75 cents. I also made my own fleece pads for the straps for about $3 when the ones online cost $18+.)

      Anyways, to deal with the red marks for the days I can’t make it to the machine, I bought the face cream they sell to use with it. It is $16 and I LOVE it. I like it better than any expensive anti-wrinkle cream I have bought. I will wake up with a big crease in my face, put the cream on, and it goes away in 20 minutes. Without the cream, it is there for 2 hours. That makes me think it would actually work on wrinkles too.

      I found this link w/ a picture and the face cream is the small bottle on the right.

    • I’d say that Retin-A and a photostable sunscreen are a must for anti-aging. With the Retin-A you’ll also want a nice moisturizer; for the moisturizer I’ll agree that much of the difference among brands is marketing. Find what works for you and what you like. Many like Olay, though it doesn’t work for me.

    • Clairisonic Lover :

      I recently started using the Clairisonic, and I would highly recommend it. Maybe it’s all psychological, but I really think it makes my skin look better — smaller pores, no dry spots, better texture. Also using it feels great and is very relaxing.

      I’m starting to get tiny creases in my forehead. I don’t know if they’re to the point where anyone else can see them, but they’re bugging my. I tried out a Retinol product (Garnier) and experienced terrible breakouts and dry skin at the same time. (This was all before I started using Clairisonic.) I read that you have to keep using it to eventually get better skin, but I’m not sure if it’s worth it. Has anyone else experienced this? Is a higher quality cream better?

      • Anon for this :

        Clarisonic with Cetaphil face wash in the evening, followed by moisturizer.
        Wash face with Cetaphil in the morning, followed by moisturizer with 30 spf. Light makeup.
        For the moisturizer, I went to sephora and tried a bunch on my hand until I found one that felt good to me. This was after trying several drug store brands that I didn’t like. I use a clinique one in a jar for mornings and a shiseido in a pump bottle in the evenings.

        I understand the argument that it’s all bull, but I think that depends on your skin. Some people will have great skin regardless of what they do, but I’m not one of them. I have huge pores, blackheads and skin that alternates between oily and dry at random. I did nothing to it for years like the posters above and it looked terrible. I’ve been on the above regime for a year and have stopped wearing foundation because I no longer need it, and my skin looks amazing.

    • Equity's Darling :

      I’m in my mid-20s, and I’m super uptight about skincare- but it does seem to pay off, since I actually have pretty great skin.

      I use the products from Skoah, which I’m pretty certain is only physically in Vancouver and Calgary, but it’s also available online. I’d highly recommend them.

      I use their cleansing lotion twice a day, and their tonic (the glow tonik twice a week), then the dewlux moisturizer. Then, twice a week I use their aha mask for 30 min, followed by sleeping in the hydradew mask.

      Now that I type it out, this actually seems like a lot, but it’s not. My skin is pretty sensitive, but their products have been good for fixing the few problems that I had before using them (mainly dryness and irritation of my skin).

    • I was going to buy the clarisonic but cheaped out and bought the Olay instead because I figured it was worth a try. I really love it!

      I also use essential oils for moisturizing but my skin is super dry.

    • Whatever you do, just be gentle to your skin, and consistent. Consistency is the most important part of whatever you decide your regime is.

      • What is the difference between the Clarisonic and the Olay face scrubber that they sell at Costco?

        • Apparently (and someone correct me if I’m wrong…) the Clarisonic spins much faster so it literally vibrates the dirt out of your pores. Although it seems many people have had really good results with the Olay version as well.

    • I know this may be hard to believe, but my sister and I love proactiv. I never really outgrew acne after my teenage years and always ended up with an annoying, last-forever pimple on my chin. I never tried proactiv because I thought they were only successful because of their celebrity-focused commercials and not because they offered a legit product. But proactiv visibly improved my skin better than anything else I have ever tried. You have to really stick with the steps and follow the routine though, or it won’t work as well.

    • The thing you will regret most in your fifties is not applying sunscreen earlier, so start there! I personally like the facial sunscreens that are liquid, like Kiehls, Trish McEvoy and even Neutrogena makes one. That way it doesn’t feel like an additional greasy layer on top of all your skincare products and under your makeup (if you wear it.)

    • I’m in my late 20s and just started one this year too.

      Clarisonic with Cetaphil face wash 2x day. In the morning I use a non-oily moisturizer with spf 15 (can’t remember the name, got it at Sephora) and in the evening I use Oil of Olay Regenerist serum.

      My skin has never looked better. I highly recommend the clarisonic. I got the mia because it was cheaper but did the same thing as the regular.

  4. I’m on the fence on this one. I think between the stripes, the tight crewneck, and the clingy-ish fabric, this might not be so great on a lot of people. Plus, it might be too casual (at least in my workplace). I could see this as a cute non-work option, though. Perhaps with brown riding boots.

    • since it is only available in size 2, the stripes and clingy fit might not be a problem!

      • Good point!

        • I agree with *all* of your comments, AIMS. The tight crew neck is just plain ugly with the stripes, IMHO. I’m surprised that this is sold out in most sizes. I think it’s attributable to the cute model and her pleasant expression, and not the dress itself. (shrugs).

      • Eh, I’m a size 2 in some stores, and believe me, I have squishy bits that a dress like this could cling to!

    • I’m not loving this dress or the styling suggestions. Black boots and brown tights?

  5. Winter Wear :

    With the weather getting below zero with the windchill, I find myself bundling up even more. While I normally wear a wool coat, I’ve been wearing a long down coat to work instead. In addition to my usual pashmina and leather gloves, I’m wearing fur earmuffs. I have a fur hat that I’m tempted to wear in these frigid temperatures but hesitate to how that will look.

    My question is this – how much is too much in the cold weather? Would any of you wear a fur coat to work, fur accessories? And while we’re at it, what kind of shoes/boots do you wear?

    • Diana Barry :

      I bust out a hat when it is below 30 or so – my ears get too cold otherwise. I wouldn’t worry about looking like “too much” – if it is that cold, everyone else is just worried about staying warm too! :)

    • I wear a down coat with a hood that wraps all the way around my face (it’s the LL Bean Ultrawarm Coat). It keeps the wind out. If it’s extremely cold, which never happens in my current town of DC, I put a scarf around my face under the hood. It keeps me perfectly warm without looking ridiculous.

      What does your fur hat look like? A little cap is fine, but one of those giant ones with ear flaps is probably overkill and looks a bit unprofessional. You can keep just as warm with a hood (and actually a hood does better keeping the wind out).

      • Winter Wear :

        My fur hat looks like the one Lara wore in Dr. Zhivago. In addition to that white one, I have a simple black one that looks like a giant pillbox hat (same shape only it covers my head rather than sitting on top of it).

        • If it’s the hat I’m thinking of, I think it’s overkill, and I think using your hood would be warmer anyway (since the hat doesn’t cover the back of your neck). If your coat doesn’t have a hood, though, I think you should go ahead and do what you need to do to stay warm.

      • Never gets cold in DC?? It was 18 degrees here this morning! True, this is kind of unusual.

        I bought a long down coat from Eddie Bauer (I think it’s rated 0-20 degrees) and was very happy to have it this morning, even though I drive to work. I grew up in the Midwest but have lost all ability to cope with cold.

        • Nope – 18 degrees (above 0) isn’t extreme cold. Sorry :) You have to get below zero before it’s really cold.

          Signed, moved south to get to Minnesota

        • dc 'rette :

          18 below is cold enough for a scarf across the face. 18 above is refreshing.

    • If your coat (or fur hat, or whatever) makes people look at you and think, “fur coat” (or “Davy Crockett”) instead of “[your name]” — I think that’s where you draw the line.

      Fur coats are also inherently more glam and luxurious. All of which is fine, but it just depends on your office and your comfort level. A little fur lining on your hats or gloves or whatever is fine, IMO.

      • AnonInfinity :

        Agreed. I immediately pictured someone in a full-length dark brown fur coat, dripping in diamonds and chuckled at the thought of that person walking into my office. Just because it looks wayyyyy too formal for a normal day.

        If you don’t care, if your office is not like mine, or if your fur coat and accessories are not formal, then feel free to disregard my mental image.

      • a passion for fashion :

        it also depends on where you are. Many of the female partners at my Chicago firm bust out the full length fur coats in Jan/Feb because it is so freaking cold here.

        • Yes, I definitely have the impression that in Chicago, fur coats in winter are seen as utilitarian rather than “showy.” My mom had a couple when I was growing up. When the first one got shabby (it was some cheap kind of mink, light-colored rather than dark) we kept it in the car to use like a blanket. That thing was WARM!!

        • Can't wait to quit :

          DC isn’t cold enough to justify a fur coat all the time, but I am so envious of those who get the chance to bring one out on the rare day when the high temp is below freezing. Fur really is for warmth, not just for show..

    • I agree that you shouldn’t worry about wearing “too much” in terms of a down coat and the number of warm accessories – wear what keeps you warm. That said, I would hesitate to wear fur coats and possibly fur hats – they just look too over-the-top/fancy for commuting. If your down coat doesn’t keep you warm, try layering more underneath it. You could also try fur-lined accessories if you want to look a little more dressed up.

    • I wouldn’t wear fur, period, so my answer would be no. But I don’t think there is very much that’s “too much” when it’s cold. I think the problem with fur is that it’s inherently controversial for some people/places – both in terms of cruelty and ostentatiousness. But I do see a fair amount of it (NYC) so that if you were here, at least, you wouldn’t stand out (although, certainly, full length fur is usually more common on older women, so something to keep in mind). Certainly, a hat of any kind is appropriate in this weather (13 degrees here this morning).

      And, as always, context is key: don’t be like my aunt, who once wore leather pants and a mink to a PETA meeting ;)

      • Oh wow, I am really curious as to the reactions your aunt got there!

        • Oddly enough, it was mostly stunned silence. She was meeting a friend there (who attended the meeting) and says she didn’t really think about what she was wearing until everyone just sort of stared her, mouths agape. This was many years ago and her friend still repeats the story any chance she gets.

    • Wear whatever will keep you warm. And I don’t think a winter hat is really a question of professionalism, as I would assume that you would remove it as soon as you stepped into your office, minimizing your co-workers’ ability to snipe at you for being too Davey Crockett. So seriously: wear what you want.

      As far as the fur-specific thing goes, my personal code of conduct is that I will wear fur/lined accessories to work, but not my coat or wrap. I know it’s something a lot of people feel very strongly about, so I prefer to just not go there. And I feel that my particular fur outerwear is a little too formal for commuting anyway, so I’m happy to save it for more evening-y occasions.

    • I live in Minnesota. I agree that a giant fur hat (love the Davy Crockett reference, anon) is probably too much between 0 and 30 degrees. However, it often dips far below zero here in the winter, and when it does, anything that will keep you warm is fair game. If you are self concious about whatever accessory you are wearing, whip it off when you walk in the door and stash it in your purse. Remember, exposure in these extreme temperatures is hazardous to your health, and no one is going to begrudge you warmth or safety.

      • I have no problem wearing fur, and wear my winter coat with mink collar when it’s cold enough. I can’t imagine an office where a classic coat with a fur collar would not be appropriate (mine is not classic, btw).
        Regarding fur hats – hate them because they mess up my hair, so don’t own one.

      • Anonymous :

        I lived in Minnesota for over 15 years, and would mention that there are plenty of people there who are morally opposed to fur, as there are everywhere. Plenty of people manage to stay safe without fur.

        • Same here – I’ve lived in Minnesota for longer than that, and I would stay that fur is still the exception here, rather than the rule. Maybe because the tech fabrics can keep you just as warm, for cheaper and less bulk?

      • Anonymous :

        Another Minnesotan here. When it’s dangerously cold, you would be (and look) foolish to not bundle up as much as possible. No one cares what you look like on a subzero commute. But fur isn’t something you see much of here.

    • I just have to say – it is actually winter somewhere? I’m upper Midwest and we’re doing this weird 40 degree winter – hardly any snow and cold. Which is way weird.

      • It finally got cold-ish (below freezing) in DC yesterday and today, but it’s not supposed to last. It seems like it’s been warm everywhere the last few weeks!

      • It was winter in Florida last night. Temps dropped into the 20s, which is quite severe around here. Many houses are built without decent insulation, and people don’t have wool or electric blankets. The local Red Cross had shelters open for at-risk populations (sick and elderly, especially) to have a warm place to sleep.

        I did not, however, see anyone wearing fur hats.

    • When the weather drops to the teens, I bring out my shearling coat. It’s not fashionable and I may look like Chewbacca, but to me that’s preferable to shivering. I saw wear the hat.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Yes, I wear my furs (have a full length and a knee length) to the office an so do several other women here. I don’t have a fur hat (shopping for the right one) but when I find it, I’ll wear that too! I don’t worry about “too much” or other peoples politics on this. If you don’t like fur, don’t wear it! If you do, feel free.

  6. NYC Tailor :

    I am looking for a tailor to make my wedding veil. I presume this will be really simple: I bought the tulle, I just need it cut into a circle that will be the right length (radius = top of head to elbow). Any recommendations? Or should I just cut it myself? (Fabric was $6 from Mood.)

    Relatedly, any recommendations for stores in NYC to shop for cute bobby pin or other type of clip to hold the veil in place?

    • Classof2011 :

      I know you already bought the fabric but I highly recommend which is wear I ordered my “custom” veil. Reasonable prices (mine was really simple) and great service.

      They also have guides as the the cut and shape of it, which might help if you decide you want to use your fabric.

    • I say try etsy for both! Find a seller that has veils for sale and ask if they could make one custom from your fabric.

      I find Etsy has the coolest things for bobby pins, brooches, costume jewelry. You could even find one with blue stones which would be adorable.

    • I think you can do it yourself. My best friend did her own. I had a friend who knew how to sew make mine after realizing that the bridal stores wanted me to pay $150 for what was essentially a piece of tulle. At $6, if you do it yourself and mess up a few times its probably still going to be cheaper than a tailor.

    • You should be able to find loads of online tutorials to make your own veil, from what I’ve seen its a relatively simply process. And tulle is so cheap you should be able to screw it up a few times without being out much money.
      There are a bunch of accessory stores on 7th and 8th avenues in the high 30s – right around Mood – that sell clips/bobby pins/etc. and a number of them even have ‘wedding’ sections with white feathers/beads/pins/etc. to use to hold the veil in place.

    • For the veil, I’d say do it yourself. Tulle doesn’t fray too badly, so you can just cut it into the shape you want and do without hemming. You can test a sample, and if you find that it frays a bit you can get a bottle of fray check/fray stop for five bucks or so — it’s a clear liquid that you put on the cut edge to keep it from unraveling.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Do it yourself. I did. Saved about $200.

      There are lots on online tutorials. Basically, measure from the top of your head to your elbow (or wherever you want it to fall). Fold the fabric into quarters, or even eighths, and measure that radius. Cut in semi-circle (you can use a pin and string to help). I attached mine to a clear comb from Michael’s.

      The process was very easy and effective. The only thing that disappointed me was the actual tulle I used. Naturally, I did it last minute, but I wish I would have shopped around from something with more drape.

    • Check out apracticalwedding (dot) com – I *think* I saw a how-to on making your own veil.

  7. Gooseberry :

    Funny that a skin care regimen should be brought up this morning. While on the T on the way to work, I saw a woman with the most beautiful skin I’ve seen in Boston in a long time. (For all of you not from here, Boston winters see a lot of dry, pale faces, scrunched up from the pain of the cold!) I was staring at her the whole time wondering if she was a corporette. Ms. Animal Print Bag, Cool Square-Framed Glasses On the Redline — please share your secret!

  8. Hi all, I have a specific request for a good winter coat for Boston weather. I’m looking for a down coat that goes to my knees and ideally one that cinches at the waist (I love the cinched waist in the coat below, but I don’t like the faux fur trim – or real fur trim for that matter). Hoping to spend less than $300. Any ideas?

    • I like the North Face upper west side coat. I look at a lot of down coats on women in town and I think those look the best – not fussy, simple, very warm, clean-lined and elegant, if that’s possible in a down coat.

    • Check out Eddie Bauer, too, they have many versions of long down coats. As I mentioned above, I bought one this winter and I think it’s fairly streamlined as these coats go.

    • Try Land’s End? Their Luxe Down Coat may fit the bill (the faux fur is removable). I also like the Arctic Parka from North Face but I’m not sure if it’s cinched enough for you.

      • phillygirlruns :

        second the north face arctic parka. it’s not cinched at the waist, but it’s very fitted for a down coat and doesn’t give the “sleeping bag” vibe that so many of them do. it does have faux fur trim at the hood, but not like the one you posted. this is my sixth winter with mine and i love it – though today was the first day this season i actually needed to wear it.

      • I have a North Face down coat as well and it’s great. Mine is quite similar to the Arctic Parka but has a belt for added waist definition — I can’t seem to find the model on the website, but I just bought it last season so perhaps you’ll be able to find it in a store somewhere still. I also like that the quilting on Arctic Parka is not visible from the outside and the material is more matte; I think the shiny material on other models of down coats is what gives it that “sleeping bag” look.

    • Thanks all! I was actually considering the North Face upper west side coast, so it’s great to know that it looks good.

  9. Diana Barry :

    Sorry to miss the resolution discussion yesterday – I was helping my DH do admin things for his new company (opening bank account, sending out letters, etc.). What a pain! We need to be better organized this year if we’re going to make it work.

    I would also like a healthy baby (ETA April), make more dinners as opposed to getting takeout all the time, and finally figure out whether I want to keep my current job or have my ‘own firm’ and primarily be a SAHM.

    • Curious Anon :

      What makes you want to be a SAHM? Is it that you want more time with your kids or has firm life gotten to be too much? I’ve often thought about this because different women here have mentioned transitioning from career woman to SAHM. While I do want to get married and have kids at some point (I’m in my early 20s and steadily climbing in my career), I never felt that urge to “stay home and raise my children.”

      I swear I mean no snark at all with my questions. I’m genuinely curious because I’ve always thought that when/if I have kids, I’d go out on the normal 6-12 weeks maternity leave depending on my delivery and then be back in the office full-time. But the more I hear about “maternal urges,” the more I’m starting to wonder if my views will change. My thinking is very egalitarian and I see no reason to scale back on my career if my DH won’t.

      As I’m not married, is this something you married ladies discussed with your DHs/SOs? I think that if I’m pregnant for 9 months and then recovering for approximately 3 months, he can take over for the next year and be home with the kid. Crazy thought or legitimate idea?

      This is just me thinking out loud and wanting to hear the hive’s feedback as my friends aren’t in the corporate world and all want to be SAHMs. TIA.

      • In my limited experience – a lot, maybe most women (and men) are not crazy about their jobs, *are* crazy about their kids, and would love to spend more time with the latter and less time at the former. A lot of people seem to think a part-time arrangement – say 2-3 days in the office, 4-5 days at home – would be ideal. Lots of family time, but still earning an income and keeping your career/options going.

        Bottom line is, I wouldn’t draw such a distinct line between people who want to be SAHMs and people who don’t. I think it’s quite blurry, and financial constraints and limited options usually dictate people’s choices more than anything else.

        (That said – I don’t think Diana Barry is looking to give up her career, as she mentions starting her own firm).

      • Diana Barry :

        For me personally:
        – I love my kids. Really love them. The best moments with them are the unplanned ones – eg the ones that occur when you are just spending time with them randomly during the day. So I would love to spend more time with them. (They are 4 and 2 and #3 is due in 3.5 months.)
        – The face time that my job requires is more than I like to spend in the office.
        – Grubbing for hours is INSANE (I always feel like I don’t have enough work) and I would like to get away from it as soon as possible.
        – Our nanny is great with babies but not so great with older kids, and our oldest has pretty much outgrown her. We would need to get a new nanny if I were to keep working, which would be more expensive (we pay her about $18 per hour, no health insurance, and I think we would need to pay a new nanny $20 or $22 per hour. Plus, we would probably have to pay for health insurance for a new nanny).
        – Currently we pay our nanny 35K (including the taxes) and I make 100K. If I keep my one big client and go out on my own, I can make 60K and not have a nanny. (This is not counting costs from commuting, work clothes, increased expense of takeout vs me cooking, etc.)
        – Keeping my one big client would allow me to keep my foot in the door and possibly go back to firm life and/or expand my practice as my kids get bigger.

        • Diana Barry :

          Oh, and my DH would not be suited to caring for babies when I was working. He is very introverted and gets overwhelmed easily – so short bursts of time with them are best. He works at home, so if I were here with the kids, he would be able to take time with them and work as fit best with his schedule.

        • If you don’t mind me asking, how did you find your nanny?

          • Diana Barry :

            Craigslist. We interviewed 19 people and she was the only one willing to be paid on the books. If we were to have gone with a nanny agency it would have been a higher hourly rate and a $7K finder’s fee.

      • I think this is a highly, highly personal issue. For me, I always expected to be a SAHM when I was growing up. (My mom was, and I thought I’d be like her.) Then I decided to go to law school after seeing my husband succeed. (I was always intimidated by the idea of law school or graduate school, even though I did well in h.s. and college.) To my surprise, I love, love, love the law. I also love, love, LOVE my three children. For me – and I am only making this assertion for me – working part-time is the best option. I have friends who work full-time and have four children; I have friends who stay at home with their two children. And I have more and more friends who do something similar to what I do with the part-time gig.

        I respect each person’s decisions. My unsolicited advice is to figure out what makes you happy and do it, but also be willing to change if what makes you happy changes.

      • On the stay at home dad issue- I have two friend-couples where the man in the relationship is planning to be and wants to be the stay at home dad. So I think that’s becoming a lot more common in our generation than in any generation before us.

        Of course, I knew when I married my husband that he would never be able to be a stay at home dad. But I also know plenty of women who will clearly never be able to be stay at home moms, so that’s not necessarily a gendered thing.

        • North Shore :

          My husband was never going to be a SAHD, but I might have quit my job if I didn’t love my work (and my supervisor at the time) so much. Instead I went part-time for about 10 years, and switched back to full time last year, when my case load increased quite a bit. When I was first pregnant, I did not plan on quitting, but had arranged our budget so it would have been possible if that’s what I decided after the baby was born. I’m glad I decided to stick with my work, especially because my kids do not demand so much of my time now that they are in school and other activities all day.

      • For me, it was a combination of: boredom with my current job, a dysfunctional non-family friendly boss, and a crazy desire to stay with my newborn. I thought I’d go back to work too, but until you have that baby, you just don’t know. Seriously, I turned into a fierce mama bear when my first was born. On the other hand, I also cried uncontrollably when I packed up my office and put all my suits into storage — that was goodbye to 15 years of hard work, and I wasn’t sure if I could ever go back, or want to. Either way, SAHM or WOHM, its an incredibly difficult decision.

        I’m lucky in that I kept my professional contacts up, and after a few years home with the kids, I now work PT from home. Its a struggle, though — there is no perfect answer.

      • Freq Anon :

        It can be extremely overwhelming to have young children and a go-go career. You feel guilty for the time you spend away from your children and guilty for the time you spend away from your work. Your marriage can suffer because if there is no time for children and work, there is certainly no time for husband.

        Yes, it would be nice if things were egalitarian and husbands shared the burden. But my husband, who had always been 100% supportive about my career BC (before children) became much more throwback AC. Partly, it turns out that he’s just not good with kids. Totally fun, but cannot discipline for heck, gets distracted easily (and therefore useless for all the nitpicky home maintenance work), and terribly disorganized. None of these issues were as relevant or as glaring when we were just “us”. But in the end, I simply wasn’t willing to have my children raised in what would basically be a lord of the flies scenario, so I took over 6 months off with each child, and have now taken an additional 2 years off to get my kids through the pre-school to real school transition (it was harder for them then I thought it would be). I’m hopeful that once the kids are more squared away in elementary school I may resume some semblance of a professional career, but let’s just say the economy is not exactly cooperating.

        My takeaways? It is hugely personal. You can’t plan these things. And even the best intentions have a way of being nonsense when faced with the realities of children.

      • For what it’s worth, virtually all of the high-powered female attorneys at my firm have spouses who are either SAHDs or work only part-time.

      • Research, Not Law :


        It’s difficult to plan until you’re there. Not only is it hard to predict how you’ll feel once the time comes, there are many factors involved in the decision to work or stay at home (career mobility, child care cost/location/commute, spouse career, personal aptitude and personality, etc). It’s actually far more complicated than a desire to be home or at work.

        I say that as someone who was home for the first 7 months and was happy to return to work. I hate that I spend more waking hours at work than I do with my child, mornings when my child is begging to stay home with me rather than go to day care, scrambling to stay home when my child is sick (or having to go to the office :( ), and pumping. But I do love my work, getting out of the house, and using a different part of my brain.

        Plus, life takes unplanned turns and my husband’s firm was hit very hard by the recession. I am our sole income and the provider of our insurance. Good thing I like my job, because we don’t have a better option.

        I also say it as someone who has seen coworkers return after their 12 weeks and struggle – physically, psychologically, and emotionally – before making the (often hard) decision to stay home. And I’ve seen friends arrange for the perfect SAH situation only to discover it’s not for them and make the (often hard) decision to go back to work.

        The decision to have a parent stay home (or return to work) is absolutely something heavily discussed between spouses. It affects the flow of the entire household and finances. And as for sharing the load, it’s fairly dependent on who your spouse is and what their aptitudes are. Relative incomes (and benefits) matter in the decision, since one income must support the family. And, as I mentioned earlier, it is dependent on whether one spouse is able to take a break in their career. Leaving and re-entering with a blank spot on your resume or CV isn’t realistic for some fields.

    • Yay, Corporettes!

      I love the fact that this community is able to discuss this choice in such a supportive and open-minded way. On so many boards, this conversation would have quickly deteriorated into name-calling and insults.

      I’ve got 3 children who I love dearly and I have done it all — SAHM, part time, flex time, full time… for me, part time works best, but the opportunity is not always there. Here’s hoping that this option will be more and more available.

  10. New Employee :

    I am starting a new job soon and someone in the office has been particularly helpful to me over the past few weeks. For example, she was able to connect me to the housing I’ve rented (she sent me the information on Monday afternoon and I had formally been offered the place by 8:15 Tuesday morning) after my previous option had fallen through. For a time frame reference, I’m scheduled to move late this week and still hadn’t found a new place by this past Monday, which was incredibly stressful. She responds to all my emails within minutes and has truly gone above and beyond to be friendly and helpful.
    I’d like to acknowledge her in a way that is appropriate. I don’t know her formal job title but it is somewhere in the range of secretary / assistant / paralegal. I am an attorney. We are the same age and have met in person several times. My initial instinct was to send flowers and a nice card to her home address so that she didn’t receive them at work in front of all her colleagues.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • Always a NYer :

      My suggestion would be to take her out to dinner when you make the move. Seeing as you’re new to the area, saying you want to get to know the local haunts as well as thanking her for everything she did to help you. You could ask her what her favorite restaurant. I think flowers would be a bit odd, dinner with a new friend isn’t.

      Congrats on the new job and good luck!!!

    • I would wait until you start, and then just acknowledge your appreciation for her helpfulness in person (it’s so nice to meet you and i wanted to thank you for XYZ etc), maybe buy her a coffee. Strike up a good working relationship – who knows, you can probably be equally helpful to her in the future. She is doing her job, and appears to be good at it. Keep that in mind as you work with her in the future.

      That would be it. Sending stuff to people’s homes and otherwise getting too personal with her is not, IMO, the right way to go in this situation.

      Good luck in your new role.

      • It sounds like she did more than just her job by helping you out with your move. If that’s the case, I don’t think it would be inappropriate to recognize this with more than coffee. You may want to wait until you get there to get a feel for the office culture and whether it would be seen as “too personal” to take her out for a meal. If you don’t want to do that, you could buy her a gift certificate for something she’d enjoy (mani/pedi, tickets for her family to do something together, etc.).

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      I would take her out to a nice lunch when you start. It’s a way of thanking her and learning more about your new employer at the same time. I think flowers are nice, but a little too much IMO (I would appreciated them, but feel a little uncomfortable).

    • Anonymous :

      Interesting. My immediate reaction would be the opposite. I would want her supervisors to know what a great help she had been, and that she had gone above and beyond for the common cause of the office. Thus, I’d send a small, tasteful flower arrangement to work, meet her immediately upon arriving at the new job and publicly thank her in front of someone who matters, and try to strike up a personal, but work-centered relationship with her – lunch or coffee during the workday, or a drink immediately following. I might hope that the relationship turned into a friendship outside of work, but I wouldn’t start there.

  11. Ladies, I need some advice. I just started a new job which I think I’m really going to love. My contract takes me through late August but I’m hoping it will turn into a permanent position. It is the business end of creative field, the office is very casual and frankly, I like to dress well. Yesterday, my first day, my boss told me how casual an office it is and how “he hates to dress up.” I went to lunch with a great group; one of the young women was in flip flops (shudder) but other than that they all looked great – just not my particular style. 

    My motto is “someone has to be the best dressed person in the room so it might as well be me” but am I shooting myself in the foot? I know that I need to fit in to a certain extent but I’d need to buy clothes that I don’t really want and I hate the thought of allowing anyone or anything to make me what I consider less than I am. What do I do ?

    • just dress nicely but not ostentatiously. wear jeans, if everyone else is wearing jeans, but wear your favorite designer jeans. if you hate flip flops, wear cute sandals instead. and don’t get too hung up on it, either. if you don’t make a big deal about your sartorial choices, other people won’t. good luck.

    • Dreadfully jealous that you’re able to wear flip-flops in January!

    • I worked in a big box retail corporate creative department for a while and was always the most dressed up female in the department. I wore my version of casual but almost never jeans, while everyone else looked like they were headed to a baseball game. I also didn’t want to spend a lot of money to buy all new more casual clothes. I got comments for the first few weeks that I worked there, but eventually everyone realized that it was just my style, not that I was trying to show anyone else up.

      I also got along better than my immediate coworkers with outside departments (marketing, merchandising, etc.) who had stricter dress codes and was promoted much more quickly than anyone else in the creative department.

      I say be true to your style and what makes you comfortable, since that’s really the point of a casual dress code, anyway.

  12. I’d love some suggestions for a very warm winter coat. I’m allergic to down and have always just worn wool coats or synthetic jackets. However, I’d love to find the synthetic equivalent to a longer down puffer coat and am really having trouble. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

    • Have you checked Lands End? I know they have synthetic, but not sure how long they are.

    • I am highly allergic to down too, but I think you can probably wear down on your body….as long as it’s not near your face. You’re not sleeping with it, like a pillow, and the down is usually inside a waterproof nylon shell….you might want to try Eddie Bauer and Land’s End. Maybe borrow a friend’s jacket to see if you can handle a down coat? It really won’t touch your skin or be “breathed,” so I can’t see how it’d set off an allergy or asthma attack or hives (and I say that as a highly allergic asthmatic dork).

      • I am another highly allergic asthmatic dork, and I can’t wear down. And my husband can’t wear down. And my kids can’t wear down. If I get within 3 feet of someone in a down coat I start sneezing. It probably depends on just how allergic you are, but definitely there will be stuff in the air from the down around someone wearing a down coat.

    • dc 'rette :

      I think Patagonia and Marmot both make synthetics.

    • Primaloft is a common synthetic substitute for down (as least for bedding), so maybe start with a search for primaloft coats?

    • Thanks all. Trying on a coat for a day is a good suggestion, I’ve never bothered b/c of my reaction to comforters or pillows. I’ve searched primaloft and checked those retailers and can only find synthetic jackets, not longer puffers.

  13. Relationship Question :

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost 2.5 years. I have been happy and comfortable, and this is the longest relationship I’ve ever been in.

    For the past several months, though, I feel really panicky about what I perceive to be an apparent change in our relationship – going from always-baby-talk-and-giggles to regular-life-talk-stuff. Does that make any sense? I feel like if he talks to me on the phone “normally” and not “cute-ly” the entire time, I have discovered that this terrible automatic fear goes up and I feel like something’s wrong with our relatinship. (Because I am so analytically inclined, he he he – he is objectively the same and we are obejctively equally “loving.”) There have been a lot of professinal changes in both of our lives these past few months. So, it’s like this: if he is tired and stressed and his voice is “flat” of reflects this, my mind automatically hears alarm bells that he no longer cares for me equally. (Um, as I have repeatedly inquired abotu this, it is not actually true.) But, because it is an automatic reaction, I am having a hard time controlling it.

    Please excuse the possible ridiculousness of this, but it’s been bothering me a lot lately. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

    • how old are you?

      if you’re above the age of 25, please exercise some maturity here. why are you so happy with this relationship? is it because you’ve loved having someone to be giggly and cutsey with for the last 2.5 years? your boyfriend appears to want someone he can share his life’s ups and downs with. if that’s not you, better to be honest with yourself (and him).

      if you actually value a serious, mature relationship – sorry, but clear that you do, from your comment – than you need to shut off this panicky teenager part of your brain that responds only to cute and giggle. if it hasn’t already, it’s going to make you both crazy.

    • Yes, I was going to ask how old you are. Regular talk stuff is necessary to share a life with someone. I’m 26 and in a one year relationship and we had regular talk right away (bc of personal and professional things) but we still have cutesy talk a lot. You can’t build a solid relationship on giggles and baby talk. Have you just graduated college? Are you living together, or moving towards that? You can’t share a household with someone that you can’t talk to about regular issues.

      Also, even my college relationships had regular talk related to school, finals, LSAT, job search, law school admission stress. Heck even in HS there’s serious talk about colleges, SATs, scholarships etc.

      • Agree with Red, and also – my immediate reaction to your post was, wow, you have been having solely cutesy talk for 2.5 years? I, personally, would go nuts having a relationship that stayed on that level for so long. If you are trying to establish a solid relationship with someone, isn’t “regular” talk a good thing? I think you should take this as a good sign, and not worry about it.

    • another anon :

      It sounds like the relationship is maturing. Unless you’re both always cutesy and giggly, it seems like being like that with each other is not being your true self. While you want to make a good impression early in a relationship, part of being with someone is realizing that it’s not always shiny and happy and you support eachother.

      Realize that it’s a little self-centered to think that any time your SO is frustrated, it relates to you. You’ve talked to him and know that he’s not upset with you. You could stress to him that you hope that he will always address something with you that’s bothering him about you, and you will do the same. Then, you need to let it go.

    • Are you referring more to his tone of voice than the subject matter of your conversations? Like he used to greet you affectionately on the phone and tell you he loved you before hanging up, but now he talks to you like he’s just ordering a pizza or something? I could see why that would bother you regardless of your age because it might signify a change in his attitude toward you and your relationship. It might also just be a sign that he’s stressed and tired.

      • Relationship Question :

        Thanks so much for the feedback.

        I should emphasize that we have always talked about everything, are committed, and have shared many stressors and life changes and life goals and fears and desires – basically, everyhting you can imagine a “healthy” relationship to be.

        I do feel like I mis-stated my problem somewhat. More akin to what Anon13 says above, it’s more that I sense his tone and level of everyday lovey-doveiness have become more “regular” and less perma-excited. By this, I don’t mean to say that he is careless or taking me for granted or anything, and I in no way doubt his feelings for me. Now that I write this out, I see that he has just geenrally become less … excited/happy about lfie in general. I know it’s incredibly immature to assume that it relates to me (and, again, I can freely ask him and he addressess my concerns and I feel better, btu then it comes back)- but it’s this automatic id reaction that happens and is hard to control in the moment. I will have to do a better and more conscious job of controlling it, and realzie i cannot expect him to be 100% as I want him to be all the time. Thanks, again.

        • Seattleite :

          For ‘panic’ to set in, I think there has to be more there than just his mood flattening out. Whenever I have a visceral reaction like that, I look to my past: 1) Identify the part of my body that tenses up; 2) When is the earliest memory I have of feeling that way? 3) What was going on? 4) Who else was there, and 5) What were they doing?

          So (and this is a hypothetical question that I don’t expect you to answer here), do you have in your past someone who was important to you, with whom you felt safe when they were perky and cutesy, but the signal that things were going to hell any minute now was their tone of voice became flat or matter-of-fact?

    • Isn’t this exactly what you want? For the relationship to grow deeper and become real? The cutesy stuff is what happens in the first few months of the relationship and if that is all you have, then I would say it is time to move on because he isn’t serious. He is opening up to you about his life, work stress, personal issues, etc. You’ve been dating for 2.5 years and this is just starting??? Are you looking for a buddy or an actual life partner?

    • I don’t want this to sound like “umm you are crazy go get therapy” but I would really think about therapy. It seems like you have a fear of abandonment. To be honest its not “possible ridiculousness” it is ridiculousnesses if I am reading it correctly. You spent 2.5 years giggling and talking about baby talk the entire time? It sounds like in your phone call your getting nervous because just part of that phone call isn’t “cutely.”

  14. I’m starting to feel like the only person who didn’t like the Hunger Games. It was a quick read and entertaining story, yes. Still I couldn’t get past the off-putting concept of kids being forced to kill each other. Anyone else have the same reaction?

    • The concept freaks me out so much that I refuse to read it. My sister keeps pushing it on me and I keep telling her no. Fantasy and horror are the 2 genres I’m not into and this combines both.

    • I couldn’t make it past the first few pages…. :)

      • Research, Not Law :

        Ditto. Based on all the raves here, I downloaded it without reading the description. Thank goodness for Kindle samples.

        I have to say, I wasn’t (immediately) impressed with the writing. For example, Kite Runner made me want to vomit and gave me nightmares, but it was very well written and I couldn’t put it down. Outside of the plot, I still don’t think I would have made it far into Hunger Games before being put off by the writing.

        • The prose quality wasn’t great, but I found that once I made it past the first few chapters the heart pounding excitement started and I stopped noticing the poor prose. I could totally understand the prose and especially the violence turning some people off. I’m honestly surprised its become as popular as it has, although I love it.

    • ….That’s sort of the point. You’re supposed to be repulsed by the evil nature of the oppressive regime. Maybe your reaction just means you don’t like dystopian fiction?

      • Agree. I read an interview with the author (I’ll post the link separately), and was interested to learn that she grew up a “military brat” and her dad was an avid war historian, served in Vietnam, and likely suffered PTSD. She wanted to make her point about the brutality and human elements of war REALLY obvious by making the characters children. It’s a gruesome concept, but a really effective device.

        There’s a lot more to the books than kids trying to kill each other, FWIW, but to each her own.

        • Link to the interview mentioned above:

          Warning, there’s a bit of a spoiler in the first paragraph!

    • I’m the biggest softie (I cover my face during violent scenes in a movie, cannot watch horror films) and I absolutely loved the book. Parts are violent, but it’s not continuous throughout the book. What is much more inspiring is the resiliency of the protagonist and how the community survives in such a dysfunctional regime. I’m actually reading it again now because I loved it so much the first time around.

    • I disliked it. I really enjoyed Battle Royale, which is the Japanese manga version that I think HG was based off of. Within the context of Japanese society and a Japanese junior high school, the story really made sense as a commentary on Japanese society and the school system. Taken out of that environment, I didn’t really feel like it made as much sense.

    • I didn’t have the same reaction, but I grew up reading a lot of different genres (sci-fi, fantasy, Stephen King), so the premise didn’t deter me. I think it ups the stakes of the story, but I can definitely see how it might be a hurdle to enjoying the flow of the story.

      Everyone keeps telling me all the “classics” I should read, but I can’t get into them either – its just not what I want to do with my downtime.

      • Tried to read Pride and Prejudice and just could not get into it. Too much talking, not enough plot. Go ahead and flame me.

    • I am debating reading the Hunger Games, but this makes me have second thoughts. I’m a baby when it comes to horror movies/books/etc. Seriously I change the channel when a horror movie trailer comes on television and cry if I’m watching one. I recently saw The Girl with the Dragon tattoo with my b/f after my roommate raved about the book and he was worried I would have nightmares.

      • Did you see the Swedish or American version?

        • Oooh! I saw both and loved them equally (but for vastly different reasons). Also loved the first book, but oddly disliked the second and didn’t read the third.

        • The American one that just came out. The rape scenes were too much for me and the entire movie seemed to be centered around rape and murder. My roommate loved the book and suggested it. She gave me the warning that there is a little bit of sexual violence. Huge understatement. I don’t have such a problem with violence as I do with sexual violence. I am curious about what happens in the next books though if anyone wants to share since it is highly doubtful that I will see the other movies if they are made.

          • Re the Dragon Tattoo books, (1) the original title was something like “Men Who Hate Women,” so you’re right on with it being centered around rape and murder, and (2) the later books are still violent, but not sexually violent.

            Hunger Games is not sexually violent at all. I enjoyed the story but see how the general premise of children fighting to the death would be off-putting. If you think you can handle the premise, I don’t think there’s anything in the writing that would be too graphic or scary. As others have mentioned, I think that the Hunger Games series uses the scenario to get to more inspirational themes.

      • I am the same way. I look forward to horror movies coming out so that the commercials will soon be gone. I broke my policy with friends and saw the American version of Dragon Tattoo and it was too much for me. I really hesitated to read the Hunger Games but I was actually okay and enjoyed them. I don’t plan to see the movies though because I don’t know if I want to see the killings. The visuals would be hard for me.

    • Youre not supposed to get passed it. Its not like everyone who reads morphs into goooo kat! kill em! kill em! ra ra ra district 12 whooo! around page 50. It should make you uncomfortable the whole time and that is what the second and third book are about. They never heal from the experience, and although I didn’t like the ending of the trilogy that much, I think the author was saying it is not a happy ending. You made these kids do something they should not do and they will never be the same and the world will never be the same.

      • Anonymous :

        *past, not passed

        • oh come on. I missed an apostrophe too while you’re at it, and oh yeah, its a comment on a blog about a young adult fiction book.

        • Ugh is it necessary to point out every misspelled word or incorrect grammar? This is like when people point out mistakes in Facebook status updates. We all know proper spelling and grammar, but it’s not like we double check these things. It’s not a paper, book report, brief, etc. It’s just plain rude and embarrassing for the person you are correcting.

          • That’s why it’s done under and anonymous tag, because the “correcter” realizes how rude it is.

      • I think this is the best way to look at it- I hate all things horror, particularly when they mess with your head. That said I was forced to read it for class last fall (Children’s Lit) and really enjoyed it after years of saying I wouldn’t read it in a million years. Having read the whole series it seems to me at least, that you’re not supposed to love the events, but rather love the characters as they develop and begin to fight back.
        I agree that the killing makes me squeamish, as do some of the animals that are featured. But overall, it’s something that is a commentary on what society had supposedly become and what it took to change things.

    • I don’t read fiction at all, so the book recommendation threads make me feel a little like a freak.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        You may have already read this — but the Information by James Gleick is excellent. Other non-fiction faves of mine from the past year:
        1. Emperor of All Maladies (I give this to everyone as a gift)
        2. Scorpions/Noah Feldman (good for lawyers/law students)
        3. Ditto with Justice Stevens’ book, Five Chiefs, although not as good as (2)
        4. Wolf Hall (a bit fictiony, but based on real events), won the Booker Prize
        5. Erik Larsen: Enjoyed Devil in the White City, also read his recent In the Garden of Beasts, which was entertaining but not as good. Some WWII fiction that I actually felt was quite non-fiction-esque and really amazing were the two books, Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War and War & Remembrance
        6. Michael Hiltzik/Colossus, about the building of the Hoover Dam

    • I found it a bit off-putting, too, but my major problem with it was that it wasn’t *good*. Entertaining story, sure — I was done with it in less than 24 hours. But the writing was cliche and silly — it felt like it was written by a teenager.

      I’m also not sure how they’re going to make a non-horrifying (PG-13?) movie out of it.

      • Well – its is written for a younger audience, who hasn’t seen/read all the cliches yet.

        • That’s true. It’s more excusable in YA fiction, but I also think that it doesn’t HAVE to be cliche. I think YA writers should be held to the same standards of good writing as adult fiction. Even picture books for little children can be either thoughtlessly or thoughtfully written — and the quality of writing makes a big difference.

    • Ekaterin Nile :

      Frankly, I find reality TV disturbing, but I didn’t find the kids being forced to kill each other off-putting in the sense of not wanting to read the books. I just didn’t think the books were That Great. I thought the first one was predictable and the second two I wasn’t able to finish.

    • You are so not the only person who didn’t like it. It’s a book for tweens and teens. I gave it a shot because I love to read and it’s the rage, but, predictably, it did not appeal to me because it is intended for a much younger audience. See also, Twilight.

      • Ack – hated Twilight. I only finished the first book because I had to see if it got any better. It didn’t.

    • I generally feel that way about most dystopian fiction (with a couple exceptions), so I’ve avoided reading the Hunger Games.

  15. Now that winter is finally here, can anyone recommend any reasonably priced wool or cashmere tights?

    • Depending on what you mean by “reasonable,” Wolford has some great merino wool tights (think about $50-60) that have lasted me an entire winter before just looking too ratty to continue to wear (last year I wore 1 pair 3-5 times per week, for the entire winter). They have a pair of cashmere tights, but I think they’re really expensive.

      • I like JCrew ribbed wool tights – come in a variety of colors and are on sale on the website right now! (less than $20).

    • Honestly, I’d go with fleece lined tights (Plush is one brand, but there are several). They are soooo warm and soft to boot. And I think more wind resistant than wool/cashmere. I discovered them last winter and it was the first year that I’ve ever really worn skirts outside of special events in the winter.

      • MeliaraofTlanth :

        This. I find mine at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. They’re fabulous.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      I found an awesome brand at Nordstrom Rack. They are great for tall girls (up to 6ft”) who aren’t necessarily skinny (up to 200lbs). I’ll post brand when I get home. They were $6.97. They aren’t wool or cashmere but they are very warm. Wore in Chicago 2 days ago when it was around 20 degrees and very windy. I’m going back to stock up after work!

    • Again, this depends on your definition of reasonably priced, but I have some cashmere blend tights from Falke that are great. They retail for around $70, you can find deals on some colors/styles for around $50, and I’ve found them at outlet stores in Europe for around $30. I find cheaper wool tights to be just a bit too itchy, so the cashmere blend is worth it for me.

    • Two cents :

      Thanks everyone! I am going to track down some Plush tights.

  16. so very anon for this :

    Dear Hive Mind…

    I’m struggling with a twofold problem that I wonder if others have also experienced, or even if not, have any advice to offer. There are two major issues at play here. The situation: I began a new job early last year, but after only 8 months on the job, became extremely ill and was hospitalized for about 5 months. Even before my illness, several serious things that I experienced and witnessed during my time on the job made me certain that I wanted to change jobs as soon as practical (which probably wouldn’t be until late 2012, had I not had to take so much time off).

    My supervisor and coworkers were amazing regarding my illness and supportive of my recovery, but now that my recovery has reached a level at which I can begin planning a gradual return, I am becoming increasingly nervous about going back. I am concerned about everything ranging from workload (catching up on ancient stuff, learning new stuff), fitting in, and adjusting to the drastic change in routine (from recuperating/resting/errands/gym/cooking & baking to eventually logging loooong hours at the office again).

    My return, and the expectations my coworkers and supervisor may have for it, are becoming a major source of stress in an otherwise smooth recovery.

    Questions: how should I get over my anxiety about returning? And when, if at all, will it be appropriate to begin looking for other work (or do I owe this organization more years, based on how great my immediate office was when I was ill?)?

    Thank you all!!!

    • What’s making you think you need to change jobs in the first place?

      • so very anon for this :

        Hi AIMS – thank you so much for reading. I can’t go into specifics, but I’d summarize my reason for wanting to leave in a word — harassment. Even though it occurred in the past, and not in my current office, it still made me determined to leave when I could, but not before doing my best and putting in an appropriate amount of time in my current office.

        • S*xual harrassment? Hostile work environment? I would never encourage anyone to stay in such a situation. But I am also confused by what you mean when you say “it occurred in the past, and not in my current office.” Did you switch offices at the same employer? Is this a company culture thing? I am having a hard time processing (though I certainly understand your desire for anonymity).

          It sounds like your current office is not the problem, so I am not sure why you want to leave. If it is just a problem person in the company, perhaps you could try to address that up the chain of command?

    • It sounds like you are building up a lot of anxiety in your mind. I’m sure I would do the same thing. But chances are going back to work won’t be nearly as difficult as you think it will be. It sounds like you have already handled an extremely difficult situation very well. Trust yourself on this. And remember, people are openly supportive of you (that’s huge!). You will be okay! I think you’ll make it easier on yourself if you just start dealing with work and diving back in instead of thinking so much about it. The reality might be a lot less complicated than you think. And of course, you probably are already doing this, but it might help to make lists to ease your peace of mind – list out steps you want to take each week/day to help manage your health, work, personal life, job search etc.

      As far as looking for new opportunities, maybe put that on the back burner for a while. You’ve already had to deal with so much change! It might be helpful to deal with one major life event at a time. But maybe your reasons for leaving are more urgent.

      Best of luck to you! I hope some other people will respond who have been in a similar situation.

      • so very anon for this :

        Vivian, thank you so, so much for your advice! These points really resonated with me, and I’m naturally a list person, but I hadn’t thought to address this issue with lists in the way you described. Thanks again!!

    • Seattleite :

      I’ve missed significant amounts of work for three different surgeries. I’m always anxious about going back. My coping techniques: 1) Go back part time at first, and arrange for the part time schedule to last longer than I think I’ll need; 2) Alternate adding ‘stuff’ back into my life – go back part time, then add something at home. Add hours at work, then add something at home, etc. Work doesn’t get 100% of my energy when I’m well, so it doesn’t get 100% of my energy when I’m healing, either.; 3) Acknowledge to self and boss that although I’m in the office, I won’t be at my 100% level – being sick really does mess with our mental capacity; 4) Remember that I’m not ‘going back,’ because after some things there simply is no back. This is who I am now, let’s see if/how the new me can do this job.

      I also had to resort to low-level anxiety drugs after one surgery, for about 6 weeks back on the job. It wasn’t about the job, it was just that that particular surgery was the craptastic I-beam that broke this particular camel.

      • so very anon for this :

        Seattleite, thank you!!! Very well put. #4 is an excellent point that also hadn’t occurred to me amid all my nervousness about returning. I hope you are feeling much better too — it sounds like you have been through quite a lot, and I appreciate your sharing your thoughts with me!

    • I once supervised someone in a somewhat similar situation as you – she had just joined my team, in a supervisory role with 3 – 4 direct reports of her own, and then shortly afterwards, had an accident which required 2 months’ of at-home recovery. I was very impressed with how well she coped and a year later, went out of my way to be supportive when she was keen to pursue another role within our company. What impressed me in particular was her appetite to work from home – I was expecting at best a part-time effort but she made a near full-time effort – plus the level of organisation and cooperation she was able to impose on her team from home. I know there was some amount of eye-rolling within her team at the constant conference calls etc but no real complaints.

      Some specific advice :
      (1) discuss easing back in with your boss – identify some areas/ projects you can address from home, commit to going in 1 – 2 days a week – and spend time thinking through your co-workers’ routine so that you can work effectively with them (get VPN, conference call numbers etc). Certainly if you are ok to go to gym etc, you should be well enough to start this.
      (2) chances are that your co-workers’ expectations of your ability to contribute in the early stages of being back will not be that high – there will definitely be an opportunity to provide them with a pleasant surprise if you are already set on making good on their kindness and supportiveness during your recovery
      (3) be prepared that the hardest part about your return may be getting back to where you will be considered ‘back to full speed’ when people are willing to give you a look-in at new and interesting work. I had re-distributed new interesting client-facing work away from my recovering staff member and her team in her absence, and it was some months after her return before she got a look back in at these, and I know it was pretty frustrating for her.

      Good luck and good wishes for your continued recovery !

  17. Question for you ladies that graduated law school recently (past 1-4 yrs):

    I am sure you heard all the negative talk about law school, lack of jobs, and horrible partners/clients before you applied to law school but what made you decide to go despite this?

    I am really struggling with this as I want to make a career change into law and I think I would truly enjoy the work but all these negative stories about the rising cost of tuition and lack of jobs have me very concerned. I am starting to think this career is a pipe dream for me…I can’t wrap my head around the cost (the tuition and the public school near me is 47K ).

    • anon for this :

      I started law school in fall 2007 right out of college and finished last december. My dad is a lawyer has his own practice. In high school I thought I’d be a lawyer, then I majored in engineering because I was good at math and science. Junior year of college I realized I did not want to do engineering for the rest of my life and took the lsat.

      Definitely don’t go into law school because you don’t know what else to do. Find a few areas of law you would like to do, but you’ll also discover areas of interest while you’re in school.

      I was very fortunate that my parents paid my law school tuition. My entire degree only cost 64K though at state school, so even if I borrowed most of that, it wouldn’t have been completely terrible (I also went to public college, paid for with scholarships and inheritance, so I had no undergrad debt.) I also worked full time while going to law school at night.

      so, I would only consider going if you there are a few careers you can see yourself doing. I grew up with a lawyer and was exposed to different legal markets in other jobs that I had. If you have not been exposed to the practice of law, try to get some informational interviews, or work as a paralegal or assistant in a law firm.

      I definitely recommend having at least one real job before you go to law school. I also think most lawyers/law students benefit from having good common sense, and a grasp on real world matters (politics, taxes, real estate, general con and crim law).

      The final thing is cost. I don’t know what your undergrad loans are, but I’d be hesitant to not work and take on more debt when you have undergrad student loans. If you get a good LSAT score you can get a scholarship to law schools too. There’s one school of though that says go to the best law school you can, and there’s another that says go to a good reputation public school on scholarship if you can. But that decision would be made later down the road, after LSAT and admissions.

      Is that 47k total, or per year?

    • I graduated law school in 2009, which means I started in 2006. Maybe there were stories about lack of jobs then, but I don’t think so – the conventional wisdom was, as far as I could understand (and I did a LOT of research), that a six-figure job was moderately easy to get. I also believed my school’s job figures, so you can decide for youself what that makes me. :) The job disaster didn’t really come out until 2007, and even then it just looked like a minor slump until I was in my 3rd year, when it was way too late to back out. Law is a 2nd career for me, and deciding to go was a very tough decision – I would almost definitely not have gone had I known what would happen to the job market.

      I did, of course, hear about law school and horrible clients/bosses. I already worked with horrible clients (in insurance) and could take it, so that wasn’t a big thing for me, and I guessed (correctly, as far as I can tell so far in my career) that horrible bosses/partners are fairly rare and can happen in any field. I generally get along well with people, so that didn’t worry me. So far, I really haven’t worked with anyone who I would consider “horrible”, so I wouldn’t worry about that aspect too much.

      The other issue that I heard about was the horrible hours – this has not been a problem for me, but I’ve had somewhat non-traditional jobs (law clerk, semi-solo, and now very small and laid back firm). I work fewer hours than I did in insurance, though the pressure can be a lot greater, but that’s fine for me; I like pressure. (Also, I loved law school.)

      The main reason that I went regardless of what I heard was that I really wanted something more challenging, lucrative, and prestigious. I don’t really believe that there’s a “true calling” for most people, and you can do good in a lot of careers. One issue with going to law school is that it can really limit your options – to a certain degree, anything does, but now, due to student loans and that whole “being a lawyer” thing, when I was job hunting, I was pretty much only able to look at law firm work. A lot of people will tell you that you can do a lot more with a JD then that, but they’re mainly wrong. Most of my classmates who went in with an ideal of what they were going to do or not do wound up in a traditional firm (or on their own, making it up as they went!), because the other options were not there. I’m making so much more than I was in the past, but, thanks to the loans, the financial pressure on me is much greater, and exhausting and demoralizing. My public school’s tuition was a forth of what you’re describing, so your debt will be much worse.

      Don’t overestimate the job market, either. It’s more about connections and luck then you would believe. I was a judicial clerk (supposedly very prestigious) and in the top 10% of my class, but I still was only able to land 1 serious interview the entire year I was clerking. It stunk, and, though I’ll certainly be OK, I’ll almost certainly never get where I (seemingly reasonably) expected to get in my career, which, again, is frustrating.

      I’m not saying don’t go, it’s obviously your decision, but I, personally, don’t recommend it.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I was out of options for what I wanted to do with my career. I was CJ undergrad in line for a probation job in State 1. State 1 job got pushed back so I moved to home state for a less cushy, low paying, non-profit job that was very similar to probation. Then fiance now husband got his first job out of college in State 3. It was in law enforcement with low mobility so I decided I better move to State 3. I took a corrections job in state 3 as it was a requirement to get into probation. Corrections job turned dangerous around year 2 and I had a non-healing injury. I decided I needed to get out and fast.

      State 3 had a high ranked, lower cost state law school. Law school was always in my “maybe someday” plan. There were no other jobs for what I was looking to do at that time in my area. Husband and I thought we could swing it and I took the plunge. I worked as a paralegal/AA throughout law school. I still have a good chunk of debt but it is totally manageable.

      I was one of the lucky ones to land a job at a decent sized firm right away. Had to move back to state 1 for it. Husband was now on job 3 and happy to move. Stayed in lawyer job 1 for almost 2 years and have switched to a smaller firm where I am much happier.

      My success was a combination of hard work in law school and luck. My prior work made me stand out at interviews. I also saw the writing on the wall at firm 1 and got out before I became another lay off. Not everyone is so lucky.

      Husband and I also went in with our eyes open knowing we would have some big loan payments for quite sometime after I graduated. For us, it was worth it.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Also, I want to add that I am also an ’09 grad so I started before the crash. I think what also helped me get through the “get a job crisis” is that I could stay on at the firm I was working at until I found another job or until they were ready to hire a lawyer. I wasn’t facing the prospect of being out on the street.

    • MeliaraofTlanth :

      I had a really long comment, but it gotten eaten by the posting too quickly monster.

      Short version: I started in 2007. Things were fine when I was applying and for my first year, and then 2008 hit. Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have gone. Talk to the people who started in 2009 and 2010. I personally think they were crazy for having gone unless someone else was paying a large chunk of their tuition, or they were at a low-priced state school. (also, how is your nearby public school 47K? That’s insane. Though I recognize UVA and a few other high-ranked public schools get away with that).

      • MeliaraofTlanth :

        and by “things were fine,” I mean the criteria for getting a 6-figure paying job coming out of my law school was basically “are you breathing and not completely socially incompetent?” I knew the hours would suck and partners would be terrible, but I decided I could deal with that for a few years until I could pay back enough of my loans that I could go do what I wanted.

        (I don’t have a 6-figure job. I will not be able to leave any time in the next decade to go do what I wanted at this rate)

      • This is my story, except that I don’t have loans (I am very lucky, and I wouldn’t have gone if I had had to take out loans) and I do have a relatively high-paying job (I am very lucky, and I know plenty of people from my class who are as competent as I am but are earning much less, or nothing).

        I went to law school because I didn’t know what to do with my life, I liked lawyer TV shows, and “you can do so much with a law degree.” (I didn’t know any lawyers or have lawyer relatives, so I was going strictly on unfounded assumptions. I also got into a top school, and I wouldn’t have gone if I hadn’t gotten in; I also decided that because I had gotten in, that meant I would be good at lawyering and “couldn’t not go.”) I started in 2007 when the market was fine, graduated in 2010 when the market was awful, and regret going, both because I hate law and because I had no idea what the job or job market would be like.

        That being said, after an awful, stressful period of being unemployed — probably the worst period in my life, ever, and I have had major medical and emotional issues — and then being employed at a terrible job, I am doing okay. I see myself continuing in my current position for at least the next few years. But again, I went to a very competitive school, and even more importantly, I had really good luck.

        I would advise you to get to know the legal field before you apply to law school (or apply and then defer). Be a paralegal (or something along those lines) in the type of place where you want to work (gov’t? defense? criminal? corporate? biglaw? teeny law? nonprofit? transactional? policy? etc.). Don’t go until you know (1) people who have done what you plan to do and (2) what you are getting into. Also, if you are going to take out loans and/or go to a lower-ranked school simply because that’s where you got in, and not because you want that school for geographic or specialization reasons, I would encourage you to seriously reconsider. Similarly, if you want to go because you will end up with a ready-made career, rethink things; that is not the case these days.

    • I will be graduating in May and currently have no job lined up. Aside for the financial aspect of law school, (loans, living expenses, over-saturated job market) law school is a lot of work! I’m sure you know that, but putting yourself through that knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel (ie: a high paying job) is very different from doing all the work for nothing. That is what many law students are facing now. It is extremely discouraging and makes doing the work that much more unbearable. Why bother if it is close to impossible to get a decent legal job these days?

      • The work associated with law school is worth repeating. I loved law school, but it was Completely Different from college in terms of work that I really had to do to keep up and get ahead. A lot of people at my school were not willing to put in the preparation for each class and the hours of studying, then couldn’t figure out why their grades were so poor.

        • anon for this :

          I’m in the minority for this (and I don’t know OP’s major), but the work load for law school was way less than engineering. I’m also a fast reader and didn’t get straight A’s, but I was able to work full time and finish law school in 3.5 years, and have a little bit of a life. I also worked full time while studying for 2 bars (and passed).

          Also, I hated first year courses but generally loved and enjoyed all my upper level course work. First year was definitely the worst, especially coming from engineering school, it was a major adjustment (well I guess it’s an adjustment for everyone.)

          • Oh, yeah, I’m sure it’s different if you did STEM in undergrad (which I so wish I had). But if you were a liberal arts major, you’ll be in for a shock.

          • I was a liberal arts major and I didn’t think it was too bad. More work than undergrad, certainly, but not insane. I read a hundred books a year for fun every year I was in law school, kept up with several tv shows, was in a long distance relationship and then got married, spent a couple of nights a week with friends or family, and graduated in the top 15% of my class from a top 30 school.

      • Anon @ 2:43 :

        To clarify, I hate law school because of the Socratic method (I don’t enjoy having all eyes and ears on me), the personalities of some other classmates (not friendly, arrogant, the usual), professors who have never actually practiced law and are extremely disorganized, but expect you to fully understand their expectations, and various other personal issues that I have dealt with throughout the past 2.5 years. I can’t wait for May regardless of whether or not I have a job! Also, before everyone jumps to inform me that being a lawyer isn’t much better and you still have to deal with difficult colleagues, I’m fully aware.

        • I could have written this comment – those were exactly the reasons I hated law school. Only 5 more months for you!

    • I went to law school completely unaware of the lack of realistic job prospects. In fact, I had worked for nearly a decade in non-profit, and quit my job to go to law school because I believed it would pay off with a rewarding career and an income I could live off of independently. I wasn’t looking to strike it rich – I just wanted to make my house and car payments without needing a second job. Similarly, my husband went to law school simply hoping to practice law and earn something in the 35-50K range. We both researched our decisions (independently, as we didn’t meet until halfway through school), and both were persuaded by statistics that indicated the vast majority of law grads found work within 9 months of graduation and earned a comfortable average salary.

      Let me say that, while I wouldn’t take back my decision to go to law school because I met the love of my life there, it was a very stupid economic decision. My husband and I have $150K+ in combined student loan debt and, while I’m working a great job, he has yet to find anything. (We graduated in 2010). We have no idea what we will do when my clerkship ends. The financial strain has been overwhelming, and we’re terrified that neither of us will make enough money to pay the bills after my clerkship ends in a few months.

      I will add that I graduated summa cum laude from a mid-range law school, and my husband graduated cum laude. Both of us did everything “right” – great grades, ended up in the top 20% of our class, did lots of internships, clinics, networking events, etc. But we’re both the first in our families to go to college, and we’re not from the professional class. Of our classmates who are working now, a large percentage had lawyer parents. It hurts to see them working for family firms after earning straight Cs, while my husband and I struggle to afford ramen noodles. And many of our other “employed” friends started their own practices out of sheer necessity because they couldn’t find anything else.

      It’s ugly out there, and I would think long and hard about taking on the amount of debt law school would bring you. Not only would you be spending $47K in tuition, but you’d miss out on three years of income and may need to take out cost of living loans. I loved law school, and I love working in the legal field, but it’s the debt that’s the killer. Wait and save up the money if you really want it, or find a way to go part-time and work through it. But don’t take out $47K+ in loans thinking it will be fine in the end, because odds are, you’ll be struggling in three years.

      • Anon,
        I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. I, too, am the first generation in my family to go to college. I started in 2007 with the same concepts and research, and no idea of the imminent meltdown in the economy. I also took out as little debt as I could and tried to live frugally, and I graduated in the top 10% of my class from a top 30 school. My husband already had a career that he loves but his income will probably top out around $45,000/year even after he gets his masters. I found that my lack of connections in the professional world didn’t make up for my good grades in even being able to get interviews, which was really hard to deal with.
        Every month is a struggle, financially. While I enjoy practicing law, I don’t necessarily like it any more than what I did before practicing law. And when I crunch the numbers and look at our debts and lost income, I am aware that I would have been much better off financially if I had never gone to law school, and that maybe we’d be happier because there would be so much less financial stress to deal with.

        • Me too. Hubby and I met in law school. We were both the first to go to college and professional school. I was in the top 10% of my class, law review editor and good student. Hubby was an average student. I only got my job because of my previous background in science. I was lucky to leave firm life this year for an in-house job, but my husband has never worked a legal despite our $150K in student loans. He is an adjunct professor and stays home with our young son.

          I cannot emphasize how difficult it is to land a job without professional and at least upper middle class contacts. My husband and I both wished we would have realized this before making the choice to attend law school.

          • If you don’t have the family/upper middle class contacts, you could make contacts by working as a paralegal or support staff in a firm before/during law school, or having a good mentor relationship with a professor who has good connections!

            I’m transitioning from industry to legal side of industry now, and I’ve made contacts through professional associations too, but this is within the area of law I want to practice, where I have already worked as a professional.

            So I guess, in a nutshell, you need family connections, or have already made connections yourself. I agree with one of the anon’s don’t go to law school right of out college, work a real job for a year and see how business/government anything is done.

            Also, grades are important for OCI and certain jobs, but good greats do not make you a great lawyer, especially if you want to be in a courtroom. Whats good about law though, is that if your skills and personally are more suited for the research and writing end, you can focus on that. If you’re a good public speaker, charismat, know personal psychology, have a great memory and think quick on your feet, you’ll be a good litigator.

            Obviously the first step is taking the LSAT though, from there you can see what kind of school you can get into and estimate debt load. I’m in the northeast, and I wouldn’t consider going to law school if you didn’t get at least near a 160. School’s with averages any less than that have poor employment prospects, at least in this area.

      • I come from the same background as you (great grades from a mid-range school, no professional family members) and I have to say, as someone who had always been able to acheive pretty much anything she wanted purely on hard work and smarts, that whole lack of meritocracy was a real sucker punch. I did lose out on one job that I really had my heart set on to a person who had either a family connection or a romantic connection to the firm and no where near my grades, and it was one of the biggest disappointments of my life. I guess I was naive, but it was a first for me.

    • Anon for This :

      As a practicing attorney, I am so over this conversation. Everyone keeps asking but no one is obviously listening as people keep going to law school in droves. Are jobs hard to find? Yes. Are you still going to think you are one of the “special ones” who will get one? Most likely, yes. Will you listen to anything said here and take it to heart? Probably not. Will you be back here complaining in 3.5 years about not having a job and making student loan payments? Most likely, yes. Even before jobs became scarce, people warned that that law school was not the ticket to riches people said it was. No one listened and now everyone complains about how bitter lawyers are. Sigh. Rant over.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        Everyone in law school thinks they are exceptional, and perhaps they are in the big world, but law school and post law school has a way of deflating some of that.

    • I entered in 2008 and just graduated this past May. The horror stories about OMG no firm jobs! had just started, but it didn’t phase me at all. I wanted to do public interest/government work anyway. What I didn’t realize was that these potential big firm lawyers would now be competing for my precious government jobs. When the law job market sucks, it sucks across the board.

      That being said, I picked a school ranked above 30 that gave me a full ride over a T-14 where I would have left saddled by debt because I knew I wouldn’t be making much after graduation. I worked my ass off, graduated in the top 1/3, and did end up getting my dream job, only not in the location I had wanted. 4 months into the job, I actually really enjoy it despite my small city setting.

      I have no idea what the take away from my experience is besides be realistic about what you want out of law school and plan accordingly. I loved it and would do it again in a heart beat, but I’m sure that’s not the case for people with a great deal of debt who all expected big law jobs.

    • I am a young attorney and was extremely fortunate to find a job I like and that is a good fit for me. I went to a decent public law school in the location that I wanted to live. I got into much better schools, but this one was in the same city as my family and then-spouse, offered me scholarship money and had comparatively low annual tuition. I still don’t know if that was the right decision – probably not. It worked out though.

      What made me decide to go? I didn’t know what else to do, and I thought I’d like it. I would NOT recommend going if that is your reason. I am happy with the way it worked out for me, but everyone else I know that went to law school for lack of something else to do regretted it.

      I have friends from law school that are unemployed, underemployed, or working in other fields (some by choice, others by necessity). I also have friends with Biglaw jobs (a different kind of misery, but at least financial security). Law school is really a crapshoot – everyone is smart. I don’t know why I made certain grades (high and low) because it didn’t always correspond with the amount of effort I put into the class. There is a huge amount of important placed on your grades in the first year, especially the first semester. Those grades will determine how you do in 2L OCI. If you don’t do well the first year, it can be hard to get a summer position and an offer post-school. Not impossible, but harder.

      Considerations should be: should you go to a regional school in desired location or the best law school you can get into, how much debt will you incur, would you go full time or part time, would any schools offer you scholarships. Have you taken the LSAT yet?

      Also, if you have to take out student loans, give serious thought to federal versus private. There are advantages to both (generally lower interest rate with private, more flexible repayment with federal).

    • I’m an attorney. Started law school in 2006, graduated in 2009. Not the best timing, but you know that, others have already discussed it and, luckily, things have worked out fine for me so far.

      You didn’t elaborate on your education or current career, and I haven’t read all of the other comments yet, but here’s what I did: I worked as a legal assistant for a few years before going to law school. I didn’t have any formal training or paralegal certificate or anything like that, but I did have a BA from a well-respected university. My first job as a legal assistant was at a small firm in Midwestern city (not Chicago). The firm hired me because they figured someone with a BA from my university would be smart enough and able to catch on quickly (their words, not mine, although I did agree with them). My second job as a legal assistant was at a big, white-shoe firm in NYC. They hired me because they routinely hire young (or young-ish) people with BAs from good schools who work as legal assistants for a few years and then either go to law school or run screaming from the firm/law in general. I loved it. As I proved myself capable, I was given increasingly sophisticated responsibilities (obviously not practicing law but doing the same work as junior and mid level associates – partners sign off on everything anyway but it probably helped that this was corporate, not litigation). Of the handful of other legal assistants I worked with at that firm, most of them eventually quit their jobs as legal assistants, went to law school, summered back at the firm as summer associates, and upon graduation, returned to the firm as associates. I didn’t return (I went in-house). Going to law school enabled me to get the license I am required to have to practice law, but working as a legal assistant gave me the practical, hands-on experience that actually got me where I am today.

      P.S. I hated every second of law school. In my experience, it’s very different from the real world. I’d do it again, to get where I am today, but it’s easy for me to say that knowing that I don’t have to do it again. Ever.

    • I’m graduating from a top-10 law school this May. I noticed a few responses mentioned the importance of contacts and the disadvantages of being a first-generation lawyer. I wholeheartedly agree. I come from a lower middle class immigrant family; first in my family to go to high school, college, etc. Had it not been for the prestige of my law school, membership on law review, and a little bit of luck, I would have no job right now and no way to pay back my loans. My biggest, only slightly irrational fear is that my firm will decide to defer or simply never start my class of associates. l would have a tough time finding a job without my school’s OCI there to essentially hand me interviews with employers that are actively hiring.

      In hindsight, my reasons for going to law school were foolish and not well thought out (law school opens lots of doors, it’s better than what I’m doing now, its intellectually rigorous, I care about social issues…). When thinking about grad school, I should have looked more closely at sectors of the economy that are doing well, are not oversaturated, and will be growing. Had law been one of those industries, going to law school would have been a wise decision. Only now do I realize how fortunate I am, despite my still precarious position.

    • In case you’re still checking this: I started in 2005, graduated 2008 from a top 25 law school.

      Couple of things: Law school is hard. Law school is made up of people who, for the most part, are used to being above average. Statistically speaking half of the that “above average” population will suddenly become “below average”. Law school was a humbling experience for me. Despite my hard work ethic, I didn’t have the game figured out my 1L year, and that hurt a lot of my job prospects for my 2L summer and beyond.

      I realized halfway through that my life-long dream of being an attorney was probably not something I actually wanted to do.

      I don’t regret going, because honestly, I would have regretted Not going more.

      If you’re serious about attending a few thoughts:

      1) Really look at why do you want to go. If you’re going because why not? or because you want to be a prosecutor out of L&O, I would reconsider.

      2) Look at the costs. Factor how much money you would make during your 3 years at school if you stayed in your current or similar position. Take into account potential career path promotions that are reasonable to expect within the next 3-6 years. Factor how much school will cost in terms of lost wages as well as tution. In which situation do you come out ahead?

      3) If you go to law school, be open to “non-traditional” jobs after graduation. I am a licensed attorney (in 2 states!) who found a job at a consulting firm shortly before graduation and never looked back.

      • I hope you read this because I would love to have you elaborate on the transition from law to consulting.

        I actually worked as a paralegal for a few years and really loved the work. My biggest concern is the cost of school – it is 47K a year for the state school closest to me. I have already paid off 80K in loans from undergrad (I’m in my late 20’s) so I am hesitant to do that again, especially since my husband and I are working hard to have a good financial future for ourselves. I have also considered B-school (specifically for consulting); I don’t know if I would enjoy the work as much as law but it would be a good paying job and the tuition a little more affordable for us. My biggest fear is regretting not going now while I still can.

        • anon for this :

          I would repost this on a more recent thread to get some insight on B-school. I went to law school, but from what Iknow about B-school, unless you go to an Ivy league school it’s not really worth it.

          That being said, I think you should take an LSAT ASAP to see where you can get in and what sort of merit scholarships you would be able to get. It’s good that you have a paralegal background and know what you’re getting into with a legal career. Also, consider working as a paralegal during the day and going to school at night. It’s tough (I worked and went at night, finished in 3.5 years), but in retrospect it was worth it.

          I cannot believe a state school is that expensive! I graduated in 2011 from a Rutgers Law (NJ) and tuition was less than half that, I don’t know who has a higher cost of living than NJ.

          Lastly, I don’t know what your plans are for having kids, but going to law school later in life and being saddled with debt will affect your family/future family.

          • Posted in the wrong spot – thanks for your insight, I’ll repost about b-school. I case you see this I studied for the LSAT about a year ago and was consistantly scoring in the low 160’s – which is really not going to give me a ton of options at school where I think taking the financial risk is worth it given the current job market..

  18. Thanks! I’ll repost

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