Wednesday’s TPS Report: Faux Wrap Dress

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

MICHAEL Michael Kors Faux Wrap DressOoh: I really like this MICHAEL Michael Kors faux-wrap dress. It comes in so many other iterations (long-sleeves! prints! plus sizes! petites!) it’s hard to believe I haven’t noticed it before, but I like the plain, cap-sleeved navy one that Bloomingdale’s has right now the best. It’s hard to beat the price: $120 (although some of the other versions linked to above are on sale). MICHAEL Michael Kors Faux Wrap Dress

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


  1. does the gold piece at the waist really say “michael kors” or something? i can’t see that small but it definatly has a brand on it. ew, that ruined it.

    • Yep, that is par for the course with the MK brand.

      • Yes, my interest in wearing visible branding peaked in middle school, and has been in steady decline ever since.

    • yes, and agree. If MK could keep his d*mn logos inside the clothes/bags, he would have made a lot more sales to me.

      • I totally agree. I love so much of his stuff (shoes, bags, clothes) but can’t spend that much money to have to have the MK hanging off it.

        • I adore mk purses and the last few I’ve purchased at TJ Maxx were (luckily) missing that gigantic MK fob thing. I had no idea they came that way until last week! I took the fob off my most recent purchase and looped it onto the pull cord for my closet light (it was always getting tangled in my clithes, or it would be too hard to find bc it was so lightweight). Despite its utility in that application, I’ve gotta say, it even bugs me hanging there.

          • I own two MK items, and perhaps they were the last two ever made with discreet branding? I have a small leather pouch with a detachable shoulder strap (so it can be used as a clutch too) and a faux shearling vest. Small metal plate w/name sewn on bag, zipper pull w/name on the vest. I’m not into logos at all either.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I have to admit I secretly love the MK logos because those happen to be my very own initials! *giggle*

      • The bags they sell at the MK outlet stores do not carry the logo fobs or the stupid giant, heavy “locks” that come on some of the bags. So win-win–no hugely visible branding, and you pay less for the bags. :-)

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        My one that came with the fob could be taken off.

    • It is still beautiful! If ONLY I were svelte enough to wear this. NOT this year after all of the matzo’s I ate. Fooey on matzo’s!

      Kat does have good taste in clotheing. Congratuleations for picking some thing styleish and not to expensive. I hope the rest of the hive will buy it. Mabye next year for me!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I have MK prescription glasses and they have the logo very discreetly engraved on the side. I was shocked it didn’t have a giant logo like the Coach ones do.

      The glasses are such a shopping win. I also found them at Sears, which normally doesn’t carry designer and had a wrong shipment. The glasses had been there over a year and were discounted 50% off. I also got them on a day the store was doing 50% off lenses AND they had a new computer system that was wrongly discounting the fancy teflon anti scratch coating. Since they couldn’t override it, I got that 50% off too. I got a steal and they are the best glasses I have ever owned.

  2. If you work in a cube farm, please modulate your voice accordingly.

  3. I wonder how well this wears over time?One of my frustrations this spring/summer is that many dresses seem to be made in fabrics (rayon, etc.) that I have doubts about the wear on.

    Threadjack: Need gift advice. My father in law loved Cross fine-point pens with the thin pen body. I wanted to get him another one for father’s day, but Cross apparently only makes medium-point pens now.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for similar refillable _fine point_ pens that they like? When I moved outside of Cross, the selection was overwhelming. Not sure where to start. This seemed like something you all would know!

    • anon in SF :

      Isn’t the fine/medium point controlled by the type of pen refill, not the style of the body? I buy cross pens and then get rid of the medium point refill they come with and swap in a fine point one. They only cost a few dollars and I prefer the fine to the medium point. Maybe this would work for you too?

    • Have you tried Levengers? They have a nice selection of all types of pen, and definitely have fine point refills

    • Muddy Buddy :

      What type of pen? Ballpoint, fountain, or rollerball?

    • Cross is a classic. But try Tiffany.

    • I’m prefer fine point pens as well and usually just swap out the refills. Rollerball, not gel. The Tiffany pens do look a lot like the Cross pens.

      Also, EC MD is right, Levenger has a HUGE collection of pens that is beyond overwhelming. They don’t have many stores, but maybe if you have close by you can go try some out (can’t recall how many thin body pens they have). Levenger also has pretty good customer service and will let you try all the pens out in the store.

      • Oh, that’s a great idea about the refills. So, I should look for Cross refills in the fine point?

        FIL likes the ballpoint pens, and so other brands along those same lines would be great.

        • That’s what I would do, plus they are generally pretty cheap. I really don’t know if Cross makes fine point refills, but I hope they do!

        • Muddy Buddy :

          If you have time to go to a store, there are pen stores in most cities. (I don’t know much about ball points, sorry!)

          I think that would be a good start. The people who work at these places are almost always exceptionally nice and love talking pens, so it’s really easy to go in and say something like, “My FIL loves fine-point Cross ball-point pens, and I’d like to get him a gift along those lines.” They will be able to narrow down for you and you can look at the pens in person, which is always fun.

        • Cross makes fine point refills, but you don’t have to get the Cross brand. There are many compatible types.

  4. I tried this on and it is pretty clingy. It was not flattering on me but could look great if you are fairly fit.

  5. I really like the print. It’s funny – I don’t wear prints at all other than dresses, but all of my dresses are prints. I’ve had several Michael Kors dresses and they fit well and hold up well. I have occasionally had to go to petite (although I am not short, but short-waisted) because the waist didn’t fall in the right place for me.

  6. I’m just here to gush a little bit! I bought this dvf dress on hautelook last week and LOVE it:

    It’s my first DVF and I love the fabric and styling and I feel like I could wear it to work every week. plus it has a quirky pattern of HANGERS on it– How appropriate!

    • of course I’m wearing it today right after it arrived. couldn’t resist!!

      • Lovely dress. I wear things right away, too (I thought everyone did, but I have been informed otherwise).

      • DC Darling :

        From the link it looks like the side slits are pretty high up. Exaggeration? If you don’t mind me asking, when you’re sitting, how high up does the slit reach?

        • You’re right slits are a bit high and there’s one in the front too (shirt dress styling goes all the way to the bottom of the dress–which i wasn’t expecting based on photos).

          Sitting down the slits hit mid-thigh. I plan on having all of them stitched shut somewhat. The fabric is a bit clingy in a good way so the dress doesn’t rumple up and slide up the leg, but as is it needs opaque tights.

          • I’m 5’5′ and the dress length covers my knee caps

          • DC Darling :

            Thanks. I’m liking the stitched shut idea. All of these really simple solutions I read about and I always feel like an idiot for not thinking of it myself.

            Makes me wonder if the guy who invented coffee cup holders was really brilliant or someone who got lucky once.

      • I do that too! Super cute dress :)

    • Did you need to size up? I’m about to make my first DVF wrap dress purchase!

      • didn’t size up. i’m a standard size 2 but curvy and usually need to size up to a 4 and tailor things down to fit. the size 2 on this is pretty roomy (maybe i could have sized down?) in a comfortable and flattering way. love!

      • I always size up 1-2 sizes in DvF wrap dresses.

        • this one isn’t a wrap dress (it’s more boxy shirt dress), so i bet the styling makes a diff

      • anon in SF :

        If you are busty, I’d size up in the wrap dresses. I have a dress similar to the one pictured in my regular size, but always buy the wraps one size up so that they are not as low cut in the front.

        Also, you may want to look into getting a bra with a cami/tank attached. I got one from natori recently, and I wear it all the time. It is the perfect thing for wrap dresses, but also great for anything slightly low cut. And, no bunching at the waist like if you wear a regular cami.

        • anon in SF :

          This is the cami bra I have.

        • downstream :

          wearing a full-body slip also works, doesn’t bunch up at the waist and provides bottom-coverage as well (for when it’s windy and the dress flies open)

      • I have the Jafar, too! I loved the arrow cubes patterns.

        I sized up so it wouldn’t be too clingy. Upsizing also made the side slits hang down instead of gaping.

        My neck tie keeps slithering out.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      So adorable! I have lately been lusting after this dress

      but have no idea where I would wear it.

  7. Graduate student help :

    Thank you for those of you that gave me advice on my dinner with a Very Important Person. I dressed conservatively but nicely, the dinner was lovely, and I didn’t get the chance to ask a question although I did shake his hand. I was the only “non important” person there and the youngest by 25 years. Wow. Talk about pressure. But thank you for the advice everyone!

    And for those of you who were wondering the dinner was wiht former IRA leader/current first minister of Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness.

    • OMG! I’m so incredibly jealous–Irish politics, the Troubles and the resulting peace process are subjects I try to follow. I missed the original thread so I didn’t contribute any adviceM. I’m glad it went well!

      If you can answer without outing yourself, what is your area of grad study? History or IR or ssomehing else? DH is getting a history PhD (18th century Britain) so I’m fascinated by research interests!

      • Graduate student help :

        Political science, with a focus on Conflict studies. most of my research is in Sub-Saharan Africa but Northern Ireland is another area I’ve done a lot of work in. A dream come true, really! What sort of stuff specifically does your husband study?

        • goirishkj :

          Ooooh, had I not gone to law school I was considering some sort of peace/conflict studies program. But I went to law school and am boring. Husband focuses on economic development, particularly in Scotland.

      • Totally off subject, but I just realized I was saying your name in my head all wrong! I was giving it a sort of Japanese pronunciation, but duh! it’s Go Irish…man, my brain does funny things. Glad you had a good dinner!

    • Always a NYer :

      I am so jealous!!!!!!! I wrote my undergrad thesis on the Good Friday Agreement and am absolutely fascinated with the politics of Northern Ireland. It’s on my bucket list to discuss it with Gerry Adams one day ;)

      And again congrats on that amazing opportunity!

      • Graduate student help :

        It’s such an interesting topic–consociationalism can work (in specifically politically-based conflicts)!!
        The weridest part was when MM was talking about the football rivalry he has with Peter Robinson and Ian Paisely. Um, sorry, what?! You disagree about football!? Amazing that they are even at that point.

        • A fellow politics grad student, that’s amazing! I do substate nationalism in W. Europe.

        • LinLondon :

          Football (soccer) in the UK can be massively, massively sectarian. Just type “Old Firm” into wiki and you’ll get a small taste.

          • Graduate student help :

            I’m in the UK, I know, believe me (hearing people shout on the tube on match day). But it’s nice that they can at least have a football conversation.

    • I had a high school class on just war theory, and we focused on Northern Ireland for our spring semester (we focused on the Battle of Ypres in the fall semester). If you follow new coverage from the 1980s, you can become very familiar with Martin McGuinness’ wardrobe of sweaters. Seriously, I can still remember the two that he wore the most often.

    • I missed the earlier discussion, but you have made me tres jaloux. Go get ’em, tiger!

  8. Long black skirt :

    Help! I need to wear a long (ankle length) black skirt for a concert this weekend. I live in a major metro city and have access to most stores. I looked online at Nordstrom and might buy a few things and ask for expedited shipping, but does anyone have other ideas? Any other stores where they might sell a long black skirt? I have seen some maxi skirts but those look a bit too casual for a concert. Thanks!

    • All of the nicer department stores have nice ankle length black skirts. When shopping for a formal, I’ve seen them at Bloomingdale’s and Lord and Taylor. Can’t remember if Macy’s has them but you’d probably be able to find them there. You might have to hunt but they’re there. Check in the frumpy formal wear area.

    • Nordstrom and other stores offer the option to pick up items in store. If you designate stores in the same mall, you’ll only make one shopping trip with better odds.

    • Not sure about this weekend, but my concert skirt is from here:

      For this weekend, I’m not sure how to find something with the heft that actual concert skirts have. Chico’s Zenergy Knit Collection Rosalyn Maxi Skirt might work. Not a big fan of Chico’s but they do have long skirts. Just checked Macy’s website and all of the ankle length have some sheerness. Looks like Bloomingdales may have a couple that are more appropriate.

    • By the way, depending on what you’re doing in the concert, most people will not be close enough to see how casual a skirt might be. So as long as it’s solid and ankle length, it probably doesn’t matter. But sheerness or ruffles or other trim could be problematic.

      • Thanks everyone! Great idea to look at the formal wear section of Macys/Lord and Taylor, etc. I’ll do that tonight. I also put in a big order at Nordstrom with 2 day shipping so let’s see if that works. Unfortunately, the Nordstrom store is no where close to me.

        • I just found a great one at Bloomingdales, and it was only about $100. It is super comfy and has some weight to it so being up on a stage or outside with it would be totally fine.

    • Try JCPenney or Sears if you’re on a budget.

  9. A few days ago I asked a question about how to handle a coworker who is trying to act like my superior. Well I had a meeting with our manager and he confirmed that is not how the reporting line goes so I think he will be reminding said coworker of this. In the meantime I have meetings with this coworker twice a month to discuss projects we are woking on etc, but it has turned into me just reporting to him what I am doing and it is more of a way for him to keep tabs on my. I want to end the perception that he has of me being subordinate to him so I’d like to either end these meetings completely or handle them differently when they happen. Is there a way to flip the script on this guy? Or should I just stop meeting with him? How do I bow out gracefully?

    • Could you request that he send a summary to you via email? Or that he send a list of his open action items to the team? Can you request that he come to your office to meet? Maybe just a change of location or initiating will indicate that you aren’t “reporting” to him, you’re “discussing” things with him? I mean, if you don’t have any items that are blocked by him (ie: waiting on his phase 1 of a project before you can complete phase 2), just tell him that you don’t have time to meet with him this week, and hold firm. He can’t schedule time in your calendar without your consent, and he can’t “require” you to meet, so just tell him no! This is especially true, since you’ve confirmed with your manager that this guy is not your superior. Make sure your manager is apprised of your decision not to meet, and then tell the co-worker, “no”.

    • What is the purpose of these meetings? If you aren’t working on anything together, just cancel them outright. If you are working on something that requires coordination, you run the meeting. Ask him for his updates, give the bare minimum of what he needs and that’s it. Don’t even ask him if he has any further questions from you, he’ll have to hunt you down if necessary. And you don’t have to be graceful, just professional.

      • These meetings started when I was new to the team and I was more receptive to learning from him. Now that I see that he is trying to turn it into a situation where he is acting like my manager I think it has gone too far. We are not both working on the same projects anymore; we were when the meetings started. Thanks you for your last comment about being professional – sometimes I think I need to be graceful in order to be professional. Arg.

        I am leaning toward canceling them outright.

        • Gurl, cancel the meetings. If they’re in Outlook, just open it up and hit decline. Do not even give a reason. Since your manager is aware of the situation, let him/her know in person you’ll be cancelling the meetings. If your DOOSH coworker asks wtf, SKOWEL at him and let him know you’re too busy to meet for the sake of meeting. Finis.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      At least for the meetings, I think you should send an email saying:


      I’m concerned that at our recent biweekly, my projects have monopolized the conversation. Since we set up these meetings to keep each other appraised on the state of both of our ongoing projects, I’ve set up the following agenda for our meeting next Tuesday to ensure you have adequate time to update me on the status of your projects.”

      Then write an agenda that’s something like:

      10-10:20 – Mutual Project Update and brainstorm session
      10:20-10:40 – Coworker Project Update (List all ongoing projects you know of him working on here)
      10:40-11:00 Anon Project Update (list the major projects you are working on here)

      If he starts getting into “Hey, what is happening with Project X?” blah blah just focusing on your projects, be like “I’m looking forward to briefing you on that, but I think we should stick to the agenda. I think next up is a status update about your Project Y.”

      • This is wayyyyyyyyy too involved. Keep it short and sweet.

      • No. Please don’t do this. Just cancel the meetings without an explanation a la Godzilla’s post.

    • DC Darling :

      At the next meeting say something along the lines of “Where are we with your project? Give me an update”. Avoid things like “If you don’t mind, can we talk about your end of the project?”

      Just changing your tone and speaking authoritatively can help a lot. I really don’t want you to bow out!

      • I like this idea because it gives me an opportunity to assert some authority….hm..

        The person I am dealing with is very competitive and domineering. I take it as a compliment that he is trying to assert authority over me, to me it signals that he feel threatened. I don’t know anything about the projects he is working so I don’t know how I would control a meeting with him. We do have a chart with everyone’s projects listed on them..I could take a peek and that and start asking him specific questions on the status of his projects.

        • DC Darling :

          While I agree that it’s a compliment that he’s threatened by someone newer like yourself, I would hesitate to advise peeking into his projects just to have something to ask him. Instead of escalating this situation into a full out rivalry, just assert your independence as gracefully as you can by cutting the meetings short because “Now that we are working on independent/different projects, I no longer think these meetings are necessary. If you have any further questions or concerns I advise following up with *our mutual boss’s name*”.

          • I think DC Darling’s response is perfect. There is no reason to have weekly meetings with a co worker with whom you have no mutual projects. What would be the point? I assume you don’t meet individually with everyone else in the office, why would you meet with him? I would email precisely what DC darling said. Word for word.

          • The only wording change I’d make is to remove the bit that says “I no longer think.” Be presumptive in your close: these meetings don’t serve a purpose now that our project is completed. Thanks for your time blah blah blah etc.

          • Definitely this! There is really no need to engage him further.

    • Good – I’m glad your manager reaffirmed the hierarchy. For these meetings with your co-worker, who initiated them? Why did they come about (i.e., were you supposed to be mutually updating each other)? Are they necessary, or can the updates be provided in a different forum (i.e., at a different meeting with other people who also need to be updated, etc.)? Does he still have tasks/projects that he needs to be updating you on?

      I see two scenarios:

      1. If these meetings are not necessary, and you only really need to update your manager about these items, I think you could 1) provide your manager with an update and then 2) send your coworker an email saying that since you already spoken with your manager, you don’t think it’s necessary to meet unless he has something to update you on.

      2. If you have to meet (or at least discuss the projects, in order to present a cohesive update to higher ups), I’d send him an email asking him if he has anything to update you on, otherwise you don’t think the meeting is necessary.

      • Thanks for your advice! The meetings started because I was new to the team and he wanted to get me up to speed on current projects and we had 1 project we were working closely together on. This project is about to wrap up so we are no longer working together on it. Our current projects do not overlap in anyway. This is a reoccuring meeting he has scheduled so I am thinking I should just cancel it saying that I am discussing the specifics with the actual manager.

        • Oh, I didn’t see that. Yes, absolutely, decline the recurring meeting from here on out.

    • How are these meetings related to accomplishing the mission of your department/section – assume you both have weekly staff meetings/update meetings with the manager that both of you report to, so this meeting is redundant? How do you account for your time for these meetings, assuming you are in a company where you have to keep track of your hours and charge them to a specific account? A lot of meetings are a waste of time, particularly standing meetings, but people continue to have them because “that’s what we’ve always done.” You don’t report to him, from your posts I don’t see how these meetings benefit anyone but his ego, they are probably a time-s*ck for you, and it probably has your peers wondering why you meet with him. I’d cancel them, outline the reasons why, propose that if you need support from him or his team you will formally request it through your manager, and finally I’d cc your manager on the e-mail. Good luck!

    • “Let’s start with your list this time. Where are you on xyz project? How about abc? Have you done that yet?”

      Prep work: breathe “I’m the Boss Lady” over and over right before the meeting.

    • :

      Just cancel the meetings. Don’t start the meeting and try to be turn the tables. Canceling the meetings with an email or conversation telling him that unless he has anything he wants to update you on, there’s nothing to meet about. This sends a clear signal and doesnt waste your time.

      • I agree with this advice (“just cancel the meetings”) with one caveat: are you sure he’s not trying to mentor you and just going about it in an inappropriate manner/overstepping a little? Because, if so, I’d probably still suggest canceling the meetings but maybe also thank him for taking the time to help integrate you into the firm. ‘Cause, you know, you always catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

  10. I have finally come to the realization that I can only buy suits that come as separates. But I can only think of BR and J. Crew that sell them that way. What am I missing?

  11. Cookies and Wine :

    TJ: This is kind of gross, but I have a steamer that I use almost daily and love. This morning I realized it was out of water and I took the water tank out to discover that it was covered with green algae. I’m not sure how to clean it because the tank has just a small opening to pour water in and I wouldn’t be able to get in there with my hand to scrub it. Anyone else have this problem with their steamer? Any suggestions for fixing it? Thanks!

    • Maybe rinse it out with a vinegar + water solution? Or baking soda + water? And then flush out the solution 3-4 times with plain water.

    • Anonsensical :

      I have the same problem. I’ve heard that the heat from the steam kills the mold spores, so just running it for a while should be enough to make sure anything in there is dead. But it’s so gross. I tried filling mine with vinegar and turning it on for a while, but that only helped a little. Going to try a decalcifier (like the one I use for my espresso maker) next. I’d love to hear if anyone else has any success cleaning these things.

      • Amelia Pond :

        If you rinse with vinegar just be mindful of which kind you use. My SO decided to clean out our steamer with vinegar and water but he used apple cidar vinegar and the sugars got burnt and ruined the entire thing!

    • Fill it with water and one cup of distilled white vinegar and run it once. Then rinse it out and fill it again the same way, let it sit 24 hours, run it again. Rinse with plain water and run once and rinse again before using.

      We have a Chinese hot water machine (hot water on demand 24/7) that my husband cleans this way from time to time.

    • @ Cookies and Wine: Are you the Girl Scout Thin Mints and red wine indulger from a couple months ago? I hope all is better with you.

      • Cookies and Wine :

        No, I’m just a usual lurker who decided it was time to come up with a handle. And I really like cookies and wine. I do remember that poster though — I hope she’s okay. Thank you for the suggestions!

    • I also have this problem. I use to work in a theater where we steamed a lot of costumes, and the rule was that you only use distilled water in the steamer. I second everyone’s suggestion to use vinegar (I think vinegar is made of concentrated magic!!). Once you’re got it clean, you can probably prevent ickiness in the future by using distilled water and emptying it out and storing it dry.

    • a martha stewart tip... :

      put in 1/2 cup of uncooked rice w/the liquid, seal & shake it up. Then rinse well. (this was a tip to clean a vase w a small opening)

    • Anonymous :

      I think the steamers come with cleaning instructions. I can’t remember what they are on mine, but you might try googling your machine and see if you come up with the owner’s manual/care instructions.

  12. This is pretty but I am not a fan of the MK logo on the buckle. I generally prefer my clothes to have no brand names of any kind anywhere on them, esp. for work. Also the few MK items I have owned have tended to get linty quickly.

    I do have a work dress recommendation. Just bought the Olivia dress at Talbots in purple. Very nice weight to the fabric, substantial and luxe feeling. The neckline is also quite high but without being constricting – v. good for work. I don’t usually do bright dresses, but something about this really worked for me. Oh, but fyi – i went up a size from my usual talbots size because the fabric doesn’t have a lot of give and the reg. size was a bit too vavavoom.

    • Darn it, AIMS, now I want one! That purple is really pretty, and the aqua color is also gorgeous. And there’s a Talbot’s on my way home….

      • That’s what happened to me. TCFKAG was all talking about their sale yesterday and it was on my way home, and, lo and behold, I now have a bright purple dress!

    • Dang, now I want one too. I think it might be the perfect solution to my “I just bought a gorgeous gray jacket but don’t have the perfect sheath dress to wear under it” problem.

      Could I wear the purple with killer purple heels without looking like I got hit by the matchy-matchy bus?

    • I love everything about this dress except the cap sleeves. Are the sleeves really as short as they look in the picture?

    • Two cents :

      That’s a great dress. Can you talk about how this fits? Does the dress nip in the waist? The few Talbots dresses I have tried looked like sacks on me, even the smaller sizes.

      • It’s pretty fitted. I have a fairly small waist, and classic hourglass shape & the dress nips in. Not in a too tight hugging way (the fabric is too thick for that) but it doesn’t just hang straight down. It’s a very nice work dress – I felt like a less cartoonish/more office-appropriate Joan in it.

  13. Ladies who work out, especially strength training: how far after your workout do you typically feel muscle soreness? Is muscle soreness even a good indicator of how much you worked out? I’m trying build up my manly muscles and whether I work out on my own or with my trainer, I feel fine during and after my workout and only begin to feel sore 24 hours after my workout. That lasts about a day or so. Is this normal? The tip from the other day about doing quick reps really changed the feel of the workout for me but strength training is confuzzling. Help.

    • This is completely normal. It would be weird if you were experiencing anything else. That’s why it’s called “DOMS” (delayed onset muscle soreness).

      Soreness is not a great indicator of how hard you worked out, because it goes away as you keep exercising regularly, even though you’re getting stronger.

      Stumptuous (won’t link to avoid moderation) is a great resource if you are trying to learn more about strength training.

      • I suppose I’ll enjoy the soreness while it lasts (it feels good! Yeah, I’m RIPPED!!!). I do get the rubbery/jello feeling in my muscles immediately after a hard workout but that typically goes away after 2-3 hours.

        • Haha, I just bought a racerback workout shirt and went to a lifting class yesterday. Kinda made me happy in my soul to see my upper back in that shirt. I felt like my arms/back were going to die during the presses, but at least they look good, right?

    • There are some muscles that feel like rubber as soon as I get off the machine – mainly the leg extension/curl machine where you lift up, but that goes away pretty quickly as I walk it off. I have knee problems and that one is rough. Mainly for me, it’s the next morning. I work out in the evening and feel pretty sore when I wake up in the morning if I’m pushing myself. On a tip from a student I know (and confirmation from one of the gym staff who is a hardcore weightlifter), I have started giving myself less time between sets. The morning after the first time I did that, I felt like I had been hit by a bus. Now I can feel it but it’s not as intense. If I’ve been doing the same workout with the same weights and intensity for awhile, I won’t be sore at all, but that’s usually an indication that I need to start pushing myself with more weight or new machines.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I only ever experience soreness 12-24 hours after working out. Immediately after working out, I sometimes feel a bit shaky (as in, whoa, I’m on solid ground and not working out), and when I wake up the next morning, sometimes my muscles feel a bit creaky.

      I think some soreness is fairly normal, especially as you are building muscles. As your muscles get stronger and more used to your strength training exercises, the soreness will start to go away, so don’t assume your workouts are automatically less intense. If the soreness is interfering with your day to day life (ie, you can’t walk around, get work done, etc) you probably overdid it.

    • My husband referred to this as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), and I laughed at him… apparently this is a real thing though! After his comment, I started noticing that I feel much more sore the next day/second day vs. immediately following my workout. This soreness timeline is normal for me. I generally feel more jello-limbed immediately after a hard workout, and then soreness/tightness sets in much later.

    • If they are muscles that don’t get worked out regularly, I can mildly feel sore as soon as 6-12 hours after, but the worst part doesn’t kick in until 24 hours after and usually lasts for 24 hours.

      To be honest, I feel sort of normal now that I know even Godzilla gets sore. RAWR.

    • I usually have delayed soreness as well – my trainer says this is totally normal.

    • That’s how I respond too — had a squat heavy workout last week (wallballs, I’m looking at you). I was fine that day, but the next afternoon – hooboy, I was most unladylike walking down the hall.

      My muscles are tired right after a workout, but that’s a different feeling than the soreness I get 24 hrs later.

      • DC Darling :

        Reiterating what others have said re: totally normal.

        If you’re looking to minimize soreness I’d suggest working out the day immediately after a tough workout. For example, if my legs are doing that “no we are not going to bend normally instead you are going to have to lean down awkwardly for everything” thing, then I workout that day as well, just a different muscle group. or Yoga. I reserve yoga specifically for stretching and muscle soreness. It stops me from doing the awkward bend thing for the next 2-3 days if I just workout the immediate following day.

        • I do the same thing (working different muscle groups the next day, rest days, etc). I don’t know why I thought I was supposed to feel sore immediately. Also, using the foam rollers after a workout feels really, REALLY good.

      • For crazy squat work, I recommend jogging very slowly for 5 minutes after the workout. Flushes out the lactic acid. Works wonders.

    • That sounds about the same as how I usually feel. After a hard strength training session, day after I usually feel a little stiff, but 2nd day after soreness is the worst for me and then I feel fine after that. Some soreness is a good indicator of how much you pushed yourself, but there’s definitely “good” and “bad” hurting. You’ll know the difference!

      Some things I have found reduce soreness/help it go away more quickly: Eat protein. The day after your weight training, do light cardio that uses the same muscles (jog or bike if you did legs, swim if you did upper body) then stretch really well. Also, regular yoga, if you can fit that into your schedule.

    • Same here. I’m actually the most sore two days after my workout.

    • Yep, 24 hours is about right. As someone else has already noted, you can mitigate some of the soreness by drinking a (whey) protein shake AND eating a simple carb (like a piece of fruit) immediately after you finish your workout. Then eat a regular meal about an hour later. After you train, your body needs protein as quickly as possible to begin the process of repairing your muscle tissue, and eating carbs speeds your body’s digestion and absorption of the protein. You’ll want to avoid eating fat immediately after your workout because it will slow the process down.

      Muscle soreness is an indicator that you damaged your muscles during the workout, which is exactly what you’re going for. But it’s not necessarily an indicator of how *hard* you worked, particularly after you’ve been lifting for awhile. For example, I’m a competitive lifter and have squatted very heavy weights twice a week for five years. I generally train with sets of 1-3 reps, and no matter how much weight I load on the bar for those sets, I do not get sore — ever — even though I get stronger. My body is just accustomed to that volume and that intensity. But if I load a lighter weight and try to squat it for a set of 20, I will be in agony the next day. So soreness can be more a reflection of how shocked your body is than how hard you worked. Hopefully that makes sense.

      And on the bright side: if you train long enough and hard enough, you get to the point where you rarely get sore, even when you’re still making progress! So keep building those muscles! :-D

    • It’s always worse for me the second day. And I am not always sore.

    • Ah, the beautiful pain. DOMS is totally normal.

  14. Can anyone recommend a brand or type of protein powder? I love fruit and I recently started making fruit purees/smoothies for breakfast, but I do better with some protein in me and I don’t want dairy. I haven’t ever bought powders/supplements before and frankly powders remind me of baby formula. So, I need help.

    • MissJackson :

      I like Designer Whey. Trader Joes carries it. My husband uses something from GNC (I’m blanking on the name), but I didn’t care for it. The key is to find one that doesn’t taste gross but also doesn’t contain a lot of sugar, which can be surprisingly tricky.

    • My choice is Sunwarrior. It’s brown rice protein powder, raw and vegan. I’m neither raw nor vegan, but it is still my favorite. Although I do get funny looks when I mix the raw, vegan protein powder with whole milk :)

    • ON (Optimum Nutrition) has a lot of delicious flavors. However, it is whey protein, so if you can’t have dairy that might not work for you.

    • On some of the blogs I read, people seem to like Vega protein powder (I believe it’s vegan). I’ve never tried it, so can’t give a personal recommendation.

      • I’m anon from 10:50am. I tried both Vega and Sunwarrior (since I was specifically looking for a vegan protein powder that did not contain soy), and did not like Vega. It tasted like…earth? grass? Whatever it was, it was not for me.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      We have Syntha-6, but I don’t know if it’s better or worse than any other. Seems fine to me. I do recommend that you make your smoothies with sliced frozen bananas. Somehow, sliced frozen bananas in a smoothie make this rich, creamy texture that is just fabulous.

      • I like the (chocolate) synth-6 also. Haven’t tried the other flavors. DH is a former trainer and picked it for us, so I assume it’s spot on nutritionally as well. Even just mixed with water it tastes and dissolves okay. With almond milk it gets really creamy like a real shake.

    • a passion for fashion :

      If you are using it for fruit smoothies, i suggest the banana flavored whey protein you can get from GNC. I know it sounds a little weird, but for a fruit smoothie, it is awesome. I bought it on accident one time and now that is all i use for the smoothies.

    • I use a brand called Syntrax, which makes a lot of delicious flavors of whey protein. I prefer the chocolate/coffee flavors to the fruit flavors, but YMMV. You can get it at dpsnutrition dot net or allstarhealth dot com. Syntrax makes whey isolate, which is whey protein minus any and all lactose (so it won’t upset your stomach if you and dairy don’t get along). Generally speaking, whey isolate is the highest quality protein. Keep in mind that whey is MUCH more bioavailable, i.e. digestible and useful for your body, than any plant-based protein. Soy is the least bioavailable protein there is (and is estrogenic, which is not good), so I’d highly recommend a whey isolate powder.

    • Be buff in vanilla isn’t bad at GNC. Plus they have 1.2 million online deals per day so I never pay full price. I loved the blueberry flavor but I think they discontinued it.

    • I have never used protein powder. Greek yogurt goes in my smoothies. It’s yummy.

    • Liquid egg whites (in a carton). Most brands are safe to eat/drink raw, and they don’t taste like anything.
      Greek yogurt is also great in smoothies and it’s higher in protein than regular yogurt.

  15. I always think faux wrap dresses are cute in theory, but when I try them on, they look terrible. I got so excited at my first glance on this thumbnail, but then I realized it wasn’t just a plain black sheath dress, and I was sad :( I’ll also second the comments about loud logo placement!

    On another note, I styled that blue J C Penney skirt with some cream/tan neutrals. When I tried on the skirt, the outfit in the link is the first thing that popped into my head. The second thing was, “too business barbie”. This skirt has turned about to be really versatile, and I wear it frequently, despite how distinct it is. It’s comfortable, flattering, machine washable, and I get compliments on it :) I tend to gravitate toward black and gray, but this pop of color in my closet is starting to grow on me! So, to all the ladies at a lower price point on this blog, highly recommend it.

    • I was cruising through JCP yesterday and they have all new stuff. Maxi dresses, skirts, shells, sheath dresses, EVERYTHING IS SO PRETTY AND COLORFUL AND AFFORDABLE.

      • So glad someone else gets my latest obsession. Are you the one that said all the other ‘ettes must think you work for JCP? :)

        • Haha, yep. Maybe I should put in an application for a weekend job or smtg.

      • I was in JCP recently, and I have to say that lots of stuff was pretty, but that in general the fabrics felt super, super cheap and not-good to me. The American Living line was an exception – the jersey was a nice weight – but I was otherwise unimpressed.

    • I’m thinking of jumping on the JCP bus, too. How do their sizes run? I noticed that some things seem to only go as small as a 4 – I’m often a 2 or an XS in Loft, Limited, and NY&Co. Guess I’ll have to go try things on, but just wanted to see if I could get a rough sense of their sizing first.

      • I’d say the sizing is comparable to NY&Co, for pants anyway. Dresses are trickier – so dependent on body shape and dress style.

      • I’m normally a 2 at Loft and NY&Co., and the JCP 4 runs a touch big, but keeps everything from being too vavavoom. They occasionally have some size 2 items, but generally 4 is the smallest you’ll find. The skirt above is a 4, and it’s probably supposed to sit at the natural waist, but for me, it hits just above my hip bones (so, a couple inches below natural waist). I’m wearing a black skirt in the same brand, size 4, hits at hip bones vs. natural waist, hemline hits just below my knee caps.

    • Godzilla, do you think the new look of JCP is due to the Apple marketing guy moving over there?

      • That’s probably the real reason things are changing but I like to think that the updates are due to the new-ish store in the Manhattan Mall. The old stuff just wasn’t worth stocking in a store directly competing with the Herald’s Square Macy’s. Part of me is still miffed that the food court is gone.

      • JCP has been trying to reinvigorate their brand for a while, and the Apple genius is definitely helping. I felt I needed to do a little first-hand research on their new pricing scheme (hence trying on and purchasing several skirts!), and it sent me down the marketing rabbit hole. They’ve brainwashed me to think I should never pay full price, even though the new full price is acceptable to me, so I feel funny paying full price, even though it’s only ~$20-$25 for a skirt! Sigh, I’m a marketing nerd though, so the latest JCP strategies have been a source of great blog inspiration for me :)

        • It’s the opposite for me. I never shopped JCPenney (and I mean never, kids clothes, towels, husband’s shirts) because I never knew if I was getting the discount other pepole who had points, coupons etc. were getting.

          Now that I know the pricing is level, I’m more likely to be comfortable buying there. I probably won’t be buying the majority of my work clothes there, but kids clothes, my casual clothes, household items? You bet. The nearest store is a bit out of my way (I think they tend not to be smack dab in urban areas, so Godsilla’s comment about Manhattan Mall surprised me.) But I can always order online.

          As long as you can still get free shipping. Free shipping is a huge motivator for me to actually close the deal rather than leaving my shopping cart full and navigating away.

          So there’s some marketing research for you, albeit a single observation.

  16. Always a NYer :

    ‘rettes who run, what’s your advice on someone looking to start running? I’m 23, try to exercise five days a week – weights, elliptical, Krav Maga – but haven’t run since high school. My plan is to start walking each night and then build up to jog sprints before full out running. Does this sound good? What would you recommend? Also, do you carry a water bottle with you? If so, what do you do to make it less awkward? Thanks!!!

    • I don’t carry a water bottle for short runs, and I don’t really think you’ll need one unless it’s really, REALLY hot where you’re working out.

      Unless you have reasons to worry about starting with actual running (asthma, weight, knee problems, etc.), I usually advise people to start running by, well, running. Run for a set period of time (maybe 3-5 minutes), walk for a set period of time, repeat. Walking and running are different exercises, and I don’t think that walking is a great foundation for running. The elliptical is a closer corollary, so if you’re already doing that, I’d advise you to just jump in. Maybe start with 15 minutes total (run 3 min, walk 2, repeat twice more), and see how that feels.

    • Couch to 5k (google it if you haven’t heard of it before)! Even if you don’t want to run a 5k, its a good intro to running.

      I carry a water bottle all the time, even if I’m only going out for 20 minutes, because I hydrate obsessively. I have no good way to do it – I hate all the water backpack and pouch things, so I just carry it in my hand. If I’m running for a long time I’ll carry one in each hand to even out the weight. I look like an idiot, I’m sure, but I am never thirsty!

    • SoFlaAtty :

      There are lots of different water bottle carriers out there – trust me, as a marathon runner training in this heat and humidity (and not a young one, at that), I’ve used every type there is except for the camelback. My preference for short runs is a handheld 10-ounce bottle that slips on the hand with a small zip-pocket for key/money/lipbalm or whatever. For longer runs, if I know there are not enough water fountains, I use a FuelBelt with the same bottles – sometimes 2 and sometimes 4 bottles. They are spaced to sit comfortable on the front and back hips, and you can get pouches to add for carrying essentials. They close with velcro so if the fluids you take in cause a little pressure on the tummy, you can easily adjust the fit. Good luck with the running – start slowly, take walk breaks, breathe and enjoy!

    • I get thirsty when I run and carry this bottle:
      For races, I’ll put in 2/3 water and 1/3 Gatorade.

  17. Woods-comma-Elle :

    Has anyone been to Milan on a holiday (or otherwise)? Any tips of things to do/see/eat/drink/buy would be much appreciated!

    • I did a quick trip there when I was studying abroad in Italy. I would suggest checking out the mall – it is huge and full of great windows. I couldn’t afford anything there, but if you can more power to you!

      Of course you have to see Da Vinci’s “Last Supper.” It is a wait, but it is worth it in my opinion since it is disintegrating and you won’t necessarily be able to see it much longer. And you get to hear all the terrible things that have happened to it/around it over the years.

      Also check out the Duomo – it is gorgeous. There are huge stain glass windows that have been restored.

      And if you are a history buff go to the Castello Sforzesco. A lot of furniture from the time period, and lots of crazy stories.

    • Window-shopping! That’s where I first learned about Furla (around the corner from my hotel). Lots of fashion in Milan. Of course, risotto. The Duomo is beautiful and the Brera Art Gallery was definitely worth the time. I saw some paintings that I had loved when studying art history.

      • Brera is my favorite part of Milan! It’s more artsy and alternative, with great food and some really nice (like, you have to buzz in because they don’t want you stealing the Fendi) vintage stores. Like NOLA said, the art gallery is really excellent as well, and less giant and overwhelming than its counterparts elsewhere in Italy.

        If you like designer labels, check out the Golden Triangle, centered on Via Montenapoleone. Even if you’re not a label-snob (I am certainly not), it’s fun to window shop, and popping into the Armani Super Store is kind of a Milanese must.

        As far as eating goes: 1. gelato, 2. risotto milanese, 3. hot chocolate, if seasonally-appropriate. Italy does it better.

        But honestly…Milan is really not all that fun, unless you’re majorly into designer fashion. Yeah, the Duomo is awesome, Last Supper etc. etc., but there are other parts of Italy that are way more engaging. I wouldn’t plan on spending more than two or three days there. If you want to stay kind-0f in the area, I’d check out any of the towns on Lake Como (bonus: silk mills, so a plethora of silk scarves for real cheap; and incredible even in the off-season), or maybe pop over to Verona (Roman ruins, Juliet’s alleged balcony, typical Italian town) or up to the Alto Adige (slow food, gorgeous mountains).

        • Totally agree that Milan was good for a day or two. We flew in there and spent two days before heading to Bologna for a week (with side trips from there). I’d like to go back – my family is from near there (a little to the west of Milan). I wished I’d had time to rent a car and go visit my mom’s family members who love having the American cousins visit.

          • Mm, Bologna. That and Sicily are the only two places still left on my haven’t-been-but-absolutely-must-go list in Italy. Well, I mean, I’ve technically been to Bologna, in that I ran outside the train station and took a picture next to the sign that said “Bologna,” but I don’t think that counts since I didn’t eat any spaghetti bolognese.

            This thread has made me so, so nostalgic for Italy. I don’t have family there or anything, but I worked in Rome for a summer in addition to a couple random month-long stints of traveling, and I miss it so much. Thinking about the food is making me weep into my sensible, healthy Greek yogurt snack; to say nothing of sitting in a caffe in a piazza with a fountain, legs stretched into the sun. God. It kills me. I need to find a job where it is my responsibility to experience new cultures.

          • We loved Bologna. The group of us (two couples) rented an apartment (from my undergraduate college – they rent to alums during the summer) for the week then used Bologna as our base to travel to Ravenna, Florence, etc. The food was so incredible and the city is really accessible. Lots to do. The household market on Fridays was a blast for my friend and me.

    • In House Counsel :

      We did Milan for a day on our way to Lake Como for a wedding. As Merabella mentioned, Duomo, Last Supper, shopping and partaking in “apertivo” tradition filled the day. The bottom of Lake Como is about 1-1.5 hrs by train and is a lovely day trip — you could easily spend a couple of hours doing a ferry tour of the lake and stop by one of the villages for lunch.

    • I haven’t been to Milan, but any time you are in Italy you MUST eat gelato at least once a day.

    • Try to fly into Linate airport, not Malpensa, for a much quicker trip into town.

    • Climb up to the roof of the Duomo–great views and getting close up to the sculptures (and all the little carvings that no one would necessarily ever see) is incredible.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Thanks, everyone, for the responses – only going for two days which sounds like it will be enough! Exciting!

  18. Good morning! I’m trying to come up with some relaxed summer dress code guidelines for the department I manage and could use some help from the hive. We already do jeans on Fridays but I work in academia so summer is like a ghost town around here from 6/1 – 8/15. I manage both women and men, and am having trouble with specific guidelines beyond “Use good judgement” because I know that can become a blurry line.

    During the rest of the year, we range from business casual to business dress. Men wear button downs or polos, casual or dressy (leather) shoes, and any sort of non-denim pant (so depending on job description and amount of exposure to outside clients, this ranges from dress slacks to nice cargo pants). Open toe for women is fine (weather permitting of course), but if we’re not going to jeans every day then how, exactly, would you communicate a relaxed dress code? I’m thinking no spaghetti straps or thong sandals but feel as though there must be a better way to establish guidelines, especially for men. Help!

    • Do you want to cover capris or shorts? Honestly, I have worn thong sandals in the summer but have found them not safe in the workplace (and I’m also in academia). I broke a toe a couple of years ago and won’t do that again.

    • I know that for women at least places I’ve worked have allowed during the summer sleeveless tops (as in covers your shoulder and stops at the tip), non-thong sandals, and capris.
      I think for men it’s harder, because anything other than what you described above that doesn’t involve jeans runs the risk of being too casual. Are jeans absolutely a no-go for the summer?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I don’t understand what it is you want to relax. Are you just trying to say “It’s okay to take a notch down in the summer, but remember that denim, substantial skin baring, flip flops and ripped or sloppy attire is still prohibited”?

      If so, I think you can just say that, especially if you are working with mainly professionals (if you also have work study students in the office, you may need to be more explicit).

      • This is the approach I’d take, unless there’s a specific problem you’re trying to address where a more formal policy is needed. Also, it’s worth nothing that you really might have to vary dress policies depending on the buildings people work in — I’m also in academia, and my office is in a lovely old building that’s not air conditioned, and so I regularly end up wearing shorts and sleeveless tops during the summer.

    • Also an academic :


      * shirts with collars and sleeves that are at least halfway to the elbow
      * pants that reach the ankle
      * shoes that cover at least x% of the foot


      * shirts that cover the decolletage and shoulders
      * skirts that are no more than X inches above the knee
      * pants that are no more than X inches above the ankle
      * shoes that cover at least x% of the foot

      Boy, I wish I could make people in my building adhere to this.

    • You also may want to say something about no athletic clothing/shoes. I know men that would wear athletic type shorts every day in the summer if they could.

      I’d also consider allowing the men to wear shorts to the knee. I always feel bad for guys in the summer when women can wear skirts & they are stuck in long pants, and I don’t see anything wrong with a nice khaki knee length short with a golf type shirt. No less casual than a pair of jeans or cotton summer dress, IMO.

  19. I tried this on in the long sleeved version and didn’t like it. Not only does the gold thing say the brand name on it, but it’s heavy and hangs and a weird angle. Sent it back.

  20. Just moved into a new place with hardwood floors. What is the best way to keep them clean? Is a swiffer ok or would that expose them to too much moisture? Do I need to dry them immediately after exposing them to water? I have never lived with hardwood floors before so I have no idea how to care for them!

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      In my last apartment with hardwoods, I mopped with a Swiffer wet jet filled with Swiffer hardwood floor cleaner and felt like that generally kept things bright and shiny.

    • I have pets, small kids, and hardwood floors. I run my Roomba daily — its more of a duster-type vacuum so if you are OCD, the Roomba will be inadequate. I also have a Dyson for more intense floor cleaning.

      I like the Swiffer WetJet concept but I’m not a fan of their cleaning solution. (It tends to leave streaks and leaves my floor looking dull.) Libman and Rubbermaid make squirty mops now, some with reusable cloths — I use the Libman with either Method or Bona floor cleaner.

      Be sure to vacuum/dust the floors before you wet-mop/squirt mop them, otherwise you’re just smushing dirt and dust around.

    • Bona floor cleaner, you can get it at BB & B or I think Amazon has it too.

      We only have 2 rooms that are hardwood, so I opted for the lo-tech handled broom type thing with replaceable heads. We usually vacuum up the large stuff if there is any, then run over it with the big fluffy duster head, then spray the cleaning solution and go over it with the towel head. Floors come up great, and there’s no build up. I just found out they have a hypoallergenic “green” version now too.

      If you have a lot of hardwood though they have something like the swiffer wetjet that sets up with their cleaning solution bottles. A friend of mine graduated to this one after she had kids. The hand spray ones are refillable from a giant jug if you can find it, I don’t know about the automated ones.

      • oh and the heads are washable…at least the towel one is, I don’t remember about the fluffy duster one.

      • Second the Bona floor cleaner. The mop with built-in replaceable cleaner bottle is easy to use and leaves a lovely shine. Don’t use it everywhere all the time, but regularly on high-traffic areas. The company that installed our wood floors said not to use any other cleaner.

    • I generally just use a dust mop. I have one with a shaggy head that I can throw in the washing machine when it gets too dirty. Every so often (if something is spilled or it’s time to do some more deep cleaning), I use a mop with a head that is specially designed for hardwood floors. I just leaves less water on the floors so they dry faster. I don’t dry them, but I leave the ceiling fans on in the rooms that have ceiling fans. I usually just dilute some all-purpose cleaner in a bucket of water, but there are hardwood cleaners out there, too.

      Swiffers worked fine, but I got tired of buying all the refills. I have lots of hardwood and messy kids, so I went through the supplies too quickly.

    • Rose in Bloom :

      I usually vacuum them first, then use a Swiffer (the other way around doesn’t work as well). I don’t have the wetjet one, but just the cleaning pads that you attach to the bottom of the swiffer mop. It has worked very well. Eventually you may want to wax or refinish your floors if they get scuffed.

    • I use a Swiffer wetjet in high traffic areas like my kitchen. Otherwise I sweep and occasionally wipe up spots. When I’ve had issues with dullness (especially post-Katrina when I had mopped and mopped to try to get rid of sheetrock dust but since then as well), I have cleaned them with lemon oil and a microcloth. That’s a lot of work but worth it if you need to restore shine.

    • Shark Steam Mop! Our whole house is hardwood/tile, and I love that this is just water – dries really fast – washable pads.

    • sweep or vaccum and then damp mop with 1 c. vinegar per 1 gallon warm water. don’t need to dry. no chemicals, CHEAP, and very gentle on your floors.

    • I have the Murphy’s Oil Soap hardwood floor solution – basically, you squirt it onto the floor and then mop over it with a damp mop. I do this maybe every other week and then do sweepings in between. Takes hardly any time (the damp mop takes about the same time as a sweeping) but they absolutely glow afterward.

    • lucy stone :

      I use the Bona cleaner and mop on our hardwood laminates and tile floors, which is what our flooring company recommended. You can get them at Lowe’s.

  21. Always a NYer :

    Ladies who run, what’s your advice on someone looking to start running? I’m 23, try to exercise five days a week – weights, elliptical, Krav Maga – but haven’t run since high school. My plan is to start walking each night and then build up to jog sprints before full out running. Does this sound good? What would you recommend? Also, do you carry a water bottle with you? If so, what do you do to make it less awkward? Thanks!!!

    (apologies if this posts twice, it was moderated for using this site’s name)

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Definitely, definitely check out Couch to 5K. I don’t carry a water bottle but have debated getting one of those strap to the arm bottle holders.

    • MissJackson :

      Have you looked at couch to 5k (“c25k”)? Obviously you’re already exercising, so you’re not on the couch, but the program is still a really good ease into running. You could probably start on week 2 or 3 if you wanted.

      I don’t carry a water bottle with me unless I’m going 5 or more miles. I find I really don’t need to drink on the shorter runs. When I do need to carry water, I think all of the options suck but I use a fuel belt which I think sucks the least of all of the possibilities :) Some people prefer a handheld bottle, and they also make backpack water things — so go to a local running shop and try them all on to decide what will work best for you.

    • I am by no means an accomplished runner. But what really worked for me in improving my running ability (pretty much exclusive indoor/treadmill runner for the same water bottle reason) was just remembering to push myself. Like, on the treadmill, I can easily walk at a 3-3.5 mph pace and run at the 5 mph pace. And sometimes when I’m feeling lazy I do that – just zone out and go – run for as long as I can and then take a walking break. When I have a little more energy I try to push myself with either speed or duration. I’d set mini-goals for yourself – “run for 2 mins without stopping” or “maintain a 5.5-6 mph pace for 1 minute”.

      For running outdoors, you might want to look into a Camelback. They have really small ones that are good for running/hiking, etc.

    • Thirding C25K.

      I have dry mouth from allergies, so I have to carry water just to splash my mouth every few minutes. Especially in the 100+ degree summers, I need a half-frozen bottle of my own because the water fountains are spewing hot soup (I’m not native or even acclimated to this weather-yuck!). I have the Ultimate Direction handheld, but the plastic adjuster irritates my hand. I also have a Nathan bottle, but I’m not crazy about the mouthpiece on it. I actually find the 16.9oz bottles from the grocery store work best. It was awkward at first, but now I don’t even notice it. I ran a half earlier this year and carried the bottle with me the entire race, and it didn’t bother me at all.

      If you don’t live in a miserable climate or have dry mouth issues, you may not need water unless you’re going out for more than an hour (especially since many parks have water fountains, and cities with a strong running community often have running stores that put out water jugs with cups on popular routes). If you do decide to carry a bottle, I think you just need to commit to doing it and know that you’ll get used to it. Wait to spend the $20 on a fancy bottle with holder until you’ve figured out if the plain bottle works for you, or if you absolutely can’t stand carrying anything (in which case you might try a Fuel Belt, though I can’t stand those as an hourglass because they won’t stay down on my hips).

      Enjoy running! :)

    • I don’t bring any water with me (I usually run 3-5 miles). Keep up your other gym activities as you add running. Don’t push too hard or try to do too much too soon, otherwise you risk injury. Good luck!

    • When I started running (decades ago), I picked a point that seemed like a far away point from my house (in reality, it was half a mile , but whatever — that’s a good distance to start). I would try to run the full way to there without stopping (or only stopping once). Once I could do that with regularity, I would try to run the full way there and back, without stopping. I found that once I could run a mile, I could bump it up to 2-3 miles pretty quickly. And once you can do 3, you can do 4. And so on and so on. I don’t bring water with me, but I do know where all the drinking fountains in town are. I also sometimes just bring a few dollars with me and buy water along the way if I’m really thirsty.

      Other tips:
      I like to map my routes out ahead of time — having a couple of go to loops that I know the distance is key. If it gets boring, I run them backwards, or map another route.
      Wear a watch. It doesn’t have to be a fancy GPS, but just something that can tell you that you covered x distance (when you know the distance — see above) in x time. I think it makes it fun.
      Well fitted shoes and clothing. Figure out what you like to run in and buy multiples. Bra, shorts, tees, etc. Wear new and good sneakers.
      Go slow at first. Focus on covering the distance without stopping. You can add speed once you can consistently cover the distance.

      • This (the first point). I started running by running a mile. Every week I would add two blocks. Within a few months I was running 3 miles! I felt like a superstar.

        I’m a huge fan of the RunKeeper app on my iPhone (although sometimes it gets the distance off). You can set it for specific coaching programs like Couch to 5K — it will tell you to run for .25, then walk for .25, etc.

        W/r/t water, I just try to make sure to drink at least a cup beforehand. That’s enough for me for a 3-4 mile run.

    • AnonInfinity :

      Now that it’s in the 80s and 90s where I am, I carry a water bottle during every run, no matter how short. I use a Nathan’s hand-held. It fits on my hand perfectly, and I forget about it after a few steps. The fuel belts bounce too much on my body, and I’ve never been able to find one that’s comfortable.

      Good luck! I add another vote for Couch to 5k. It’s awesome!

    • I started running four years ago after MANY failed attempts. I think the reason it finally “stuck” had a lot to do with learning to be kinder to myself. As a certified type A, I always tried to set ambitious goals and push myself hard, but after a few weeks I would inevitably start dreading the idea of going for a run, then start making excuses to skip workouts, and eventually I would get discouraged and stop altogether.

      In order to make running a habit I really enjoyed and looked forward to, I figured out that I had to make it enjoyable (duh), and in order to do that, I had to silence the inner judgey-voice.

      Everyone’s different, but here are the two things that have helped me the most:

      1) It’s OK not to reach your goal
      Running is HARD. Don’t put a lot of pressure on completing a certain distance when you’re staring out. When get tired or really out of breath, stop and walk. Regain breath. Look at the trees. Is that the sun? Hey, it’s pretty out here! Repeat as necessary.

      2) It’s OK to stop
      There will be days where you feel like cr*p and are convinced that going for a run will be awful torture. I feel like this ALL. THE. TIME. And the majority of the time I end up sweating out the crappy mood/soreness/work stress by the end of the workout. However, sometimes my head’s just not in it and I never start feeling better, and it’s ok to stop. Try again tomorrow! Do not feel guilty. Do not beat yourself up. No one’s keeping score.

      Good luck, and enjoy!

      • This. I guess I’ll be the 18 millionth voice saying check out Couch to 5k, even though, if you’re already active and athletic, you might be able to skip the first week or two; but mostly–just do NOT under ANY circumstance push yourself too far, too fast. That is the number one mistake already-athletic people make when picking up running. Your aerobic system might be able to handle higher volume than C25k gives you, but your muscular and skeletal systems cannot. Take it slow. Take it easy. Ignore the voice in your head saying “But I MUST be able to run X miles at Y pace!” Real life example: my super-athletic friend (he was at one point a nationally-ranked rower) decided to start running over the summer. Because short, 2-3 mile runs felt too easy to him, after about a week he was running 5-8 miles every other day. Surprise, surprise, he got injured really badly after about a month, and couldn’t run for ages. Do not be that person!

        As far as water bottles go, I do not carry one. If it’s hot and I’m going over 7-ish miles I try to either run loops around my car, containing a water bottle; or drive the route ahead of time, and hide bottles behind trees and stuff. I wish I could use a hand-held but I just hate having stuff touch me when I run.

    • Speedwork will get you in running shape faster than anything else. Sprint 200m, jog 200m, walk 200m. repeat X times. You have to PUSH yourself though on those sprints.

      After a couple of weeks of this, jog a slow two miles. It doesn’t matter how slow you go–the important thing is to finish. Make sure to take rest days in between your jogs. Incrementally increase your distance without increasing your speed. After a month or so, you’ll be a comfortable runner!

      When running for <1 hr, it is important to hydrate before and after you run, but taking a bottle of water with you is generally not necessary. (There was an article in the NYtimes on this recently, I believe.)

      • I would caution someone just starting to run not to start with sprints. They’re a really easy way to get injured if you don’t have a proper “base” yet. I would alternate walk-run until you can comfortably run a few miles (2-3?) before trying to add speed to the routine.

        I take a bottle with me if I run over 90 minutes. But sometimes if its very hot, I may take one even if I go <60 minutes just so I don't give up and want to go home to my air conditioned apartment! I have a handheld.

        • Strongly agreed. Speedwork is an easy way to hurt yourself, even for experienced runners. For someone who doesn’t know the difference between “good hurt” and “injury hurt”, this is a recipe for disaster. Running with walk breaks is what I generally advise new runners to do. Jeff Galloway has some good resources on this.

          • Thirded. Speedwork is really fun once you have run consistently for a good amount of time and are comfortable with running/have done some races, etc.

            That actually just made me think of something else. I would try to really concentrate on having good form right from the beginning. I used to have atrocious form and I see so many runners with their arms way high and their shoulder tight (t-rex runners). Its taken me to long to have good form be second nature. Try to have your arms hang low – down by your hips (like your hands are moving across your imaginary pants pockets) and they should not twist side to side. Keep your shoulders and back relaxed.

      • At the OP–I coach running. Please disregard this advice. You will kill yourself. No one (much less a beginning runner!) should introduce speed-work until they have a solid base of easy miles, acquired over at least a couple months. When and if you do, it should not be 200m repeats.

      • Sorry but as a runner, this is terrible advance for beginning running.

  22. Washingtonian ‘r e tt es: Did any of you see this article on The Atlantic blog? Thoughts? I don’t get why everyone is always hating on Ann Taylor. I have a lot of cute things from AT, but maybe I am brain-washed by DC?


    • And a follow-up from The Grindstone:

    • DC anonymous :

      I actually like Ann Taylor and LOFT as far as places for affordable and not too dowdy work clothing go, but I probably would not step foot in there if I didn’t live here and work in a conservative-ish DC office environment. I have to say I agree almost entirely with the anti-DC position in the Atlantic post — mostly the stuff about the men and the cultural conservatism (see the Hillary Clinton bullet) and the Very Serious people, but I have to confess that it also bugs me a little bit how preppy conformist style dominates fashion in “official” DC, both on and off hours. (Although I wouldn’t scapegoat Ann Taylor any more than BR or J. Crew.) More power to the ladies who really do love DC and its culture, but it’s not for me and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t far and away the best place for my career right now. Can you tell I can’t wait to move?

      • I have been giving more thought to my off-hours wardrobe lately. I would like to look a little edgy-er or trendier than I do now and not revert to just wearing bus/cas to hang out on the weekends like a lot people I know. But then I realized I don’t even know where to shop for that stuff. The only thing I could think of was Madewell. Isn’t that sad?

        Sorry you don’t like DC. Luckily for me, I have met mostly on great people here and really enjoy it, but I know lots of people who echo your sentiments.

        • When you shop wherever you shop and you skowel at that top and think, “hmmm, I love it but it’s too bright or fluffy for the office,” buy it and wear it off hours. And may I recommend JCP as the place to try out stuff on the cheap? It’s a great place to build up a wardrobe for pieces that you wouldn’t want to wear for more than 1-2 years.

          • I second the JC Penny’s rec. I got the cutest shirt from the Mango off shoot from JCP this past weekend, and have already received tons of compliments on it.

        • DC anonymous :

          Try Zara in Georgetown! I’ve found some stuff I really like there, and it tends to be inexpensive enough that if you only wear something for a season or two as a trendy “statement” piece it’s still not a bad investment. There are also some cool vintage/thrift stores on U St, and also some boutiques around there that are a little pricier but carry high quality clothes more in the style of stuff you would typically find in NYC or SF. Unfortunately I don’t remember any of the names, but if you wander around between 14th and 18th on U you’ll see places. I, too, am trying to put more thought into my off-hours wear instead of just reverting to my uniform of jeans + whatever button down or flannel is at the type of the pile, so I know the feeling! Good luck, and keep us updated if you find any great new places.

          • I’ll second the boutiques on U St. I’ve found some cute (albeit pricey) pieces at some of the shops there and also along 14th St. Another interesting store in South Moon Under which is in either Ballston or Clarendon. If you’re into vintage, check out Annie Creamcheese in Georgetown.

          • Any recommendations for boutiques or vintage places that are likely to carry larger sizes or petites? I’m petite in stature, but about a 14 on top.

      • I also generally agree with the anti-DC position (maybe because the humidity-hair-frizz point is hitting home today?). But I have mixed feelings about AT. I get what both sides are saying on that. I like that I don’t have to worry about being “on trend” with fashion. But it would be nice to see a little more style variety and less preppy-ness. People watching in DC can be a bore compared to other big cities. But I’m more of a spectator than a participant in high fashion, so AT works ok for me.

        I also don’t think pantyhose are a city-wide requirement. Maybe on the Hill, but I don’t work there. And the same humidity that makes my hair look like crap releases me from any obligation to wear pantyhose in the summer. At least in local courts.

    • Perhaps I am brainwashed from having grown up in the DC ‘burbs, but I love AT/BR/JCrew and the DC area and miss being close enough to go into the city after work/weekends.

      Admittedly I find people being SO into politics annoying sometimes, but I love that in the DC area the “local” news stories tend to be national news stories, and I don’t think it’s a terrible city for women. Plus with the economy being so buoyed by the federal government, it’s not a bad place to be.

      • DC Darling :

        Not a huge fan of AT’s stuff this past year. While their suits remain steadily pretty good quality, their blouses and dresses are so baggy so as to be shapeless.

        I do love BR though but I won’t pay retail there. They have 40% off sales almost every other week.

      • It’s funny – I spent both law school summers in DC, and I actually hated the national-news-is-local-news thing. Because there IS local news in DC. It’s a city with major issues (poverty, crime, education), but those issues don’t get attention, because DC’s power brokers care about national politics, not local politics.

        • I just meant in terms of media coverage. While not all crimes get coverage, I think that happens in any large metro area. There’s just not enough time to cover them all in one newscast. I do think DC schools get a lot of media coverage. More so than surrounding areas, often.

          I actually think a lot of the poverty/crime/education not getting attention is somewhat related to DC not controlling their own budget. DC is generally a pawn for the national power brokers because of that.

        • I’m with cbackson on this. I live in the area and DC has little local culture and local news coverage (on tv) is awful. Its a function of what DC is though. Its not a city of locals, its a city of people from other places. There are locals of course, but they aren’t the power players and the power players don’t care about them. The weird government structure only exacerbates this dynamic.

          The DC local tv news is hilariously second rate. One step up from one of those public access shows. For a major metro area, its actually sort of shocking. There are a lot of smaller markets who have far more professional local news coverage (even Baltimore, only 30 min north, has far more professional local broadcast news)

          For whatever reason, there are several decent talk radio stations with decent local news coverage. Never understood that.

    • DC Darling :

      I would tend to agree that the cultural conservatism is pretty widespread in DC as is the somewhat exaggerated stereotype of men in DC. However, having lived in or frequented most other major cities in the US, relatively I would still argue that DC is the best for professional women. For me the pros significantly outweigh the cons. I have always been a conservative (but not preppy) dresser so the fashion suits me. I also find that the stereotypes associated with women in professional offices is less pronounced here than in LA or NYC. The only real downside for me is the tpe of people attracted to DC, the overly ambitious-name-dropper-who do YOU work for-douchebag is my worst enemy but as a native it’s not hard to shut them down.

      Him: Oh hi, I work for senator so and so in this super cool office doing this awesome activity related to my major and politics and blah blah blah.
      Me: So you’re a phone answering intern? That’s nice junior.

      • “That’s nice junior.”

        LOVE IT!

      • DC Anon (the lawyer one) :

        I’ve only lived in DC two years now, but I haven’t found it to be that different from other large cities. Maybe it’s because I work in a regulatory, but not necessarily political, area, but I work with and interact with many high-level and respected women who mostly all seem to enjoy having a personal style. Perhaps if I actually worked on the Hill I’d see more of the kind of things you all are talking about. It also might be because I came from a city with much more of an Old Boys’ Club culture, and I haven’t seen quite as much of that in DC.
        My own style has been a little hampered by my budget ($129 Calvin Klein suits from Macy’s, mostly!) but I’m trying to branch out and get more colorful as I get to know my office a little better.

    • Whoever wrote this has clearly never been to DC:

      “D.C. is clean. As the nation’s capital, they keep it like that to impress the world. That means less dog crap on the ground and less garbage on the streets. That means fewer ruined pairs of shoes, but it also means there’s just a general overall less icky-ness. ”

      But I do like DC, and my job, and Ann Taylor. So what do I know.

    • Kontraktor :

      Just moved from a few years in DC and I have mixed feelings. I guess the DC vibe was wearing on me, but now that I’m out in CA, I sort of miss it. Not sure why exactly (could just be nostalgia). I, however, disagree that the fashion is anything to be intimidated by or even serious. Maybe it is on the Hill, but in my experiences at agnecies/contracting companies, a lot of women (and men!) in DC dress incredibly frumpy, so I never felt intimidated or threatened. I wore what I wanted to work, colors and peep toes included, because I always felt whatever X color skirt I was wearing couldn’t possibly be worse than the granny hose and rumpled, ill fitting suits everywhere on the metro. Honestly I find the DC fashion scene annoying because I feel so many people just look dowdy and gross- it seems like ill-fitting pencil skirts and coordinating colored shirt/geometric tie combos that come in a pack abound all too frequently. Blech.

  23. Debt to Income Ratio :

    Any finance types out there:

    An article on CNN’s site this morning bemoaning debt-to-income inequality says:

    “In 1983, the bottom 95% had 62 cents of debt for every dollar they earned, according to research by two International Monetary Fund economists. But by 2007, the ratio had soared to $1.48 of debt for every $1 in earnings.”

    I make not quite $200K, and my mortgage is not quite $200K. So does that make my debt to income ratio 100%? Or do they mean debt payments compared to income? Which would make my ratio about 10%

    • 200K income v. 200K mortgage is generally very healthy (assuming house is in 200K vicinity). Conventional wisdom was 2*house to income was conservative until the boom. Maybe they meant non-mortgage debt to income (car, credit cards, student debt)? Old conventional wisdom was that you didn’t want to have a car debt of more than half of your income, so that may have worked with credit cards, etc. back in the early 80s?

    • I’m pretty sure they mean monthly payments on debt vs. monthly income, but I’m not a finance type ;)

      • That’s how our bank calculated our debt-to-income ration when we applied for mortgage approval.

    • Seattleite :

      As I read the article, I believe it means total debt, not monthly debt payment. And as a matter of financial management, it is better to examine total debt-to-income rather than payment-to-income.

  24. Men’s sizing question! I’m shopping online for a belt. I know Mr. Monday’s pant waist size, should I just buy the belt in that inch measurement? Or do you have to size up/down? Does it matter where he falls in the size range (32, which looks like it’s often the smallest one available)? I haven’t been able to find any reviews for the brand I am looking at, unfortunately. Thanks!

  25. Wanted to quickly thank all the ladies who provided advice on footwear for ballroom dancing yesterday.

    On a similar note, has anyone picked up ballet as an adult and could you give me your thoughts?

    If its not obvious I’ve gained back some free time and am enjoying looking for new local activities.

    • DC Darling :

      A good friend of mine is actually looking into this. I thought it sounded crazy when I first heard it but she seems to like it.

      Realize though that you’ll never be dancing in pointe shoes. Those muscles have to be developed really early on and maintained, strengthened, and reinforced for MANY years before young girls can dance on their toes.

      • Everything DC Darling said.

        “Adult beginner ballet,” which is where you’ll start unless you have previous ballet experience, is great as a foundation for many other dances. It will likely make you perform moves (in many other dance forms* that draw upon ballet) more “cleanly” and accurately, as the ballet courses will train a lot of muscles that you’ll use, and improve extension and flexibility.

        *Exceptions: I have heard that if you want to pursue middle eastern dance or flamenco, that ballet can interfere with the way you approach certain moves and forms.

        It’ll also tone you up quite a bit, which is an added plus. And finally, for me, it allowed me to understand what the dancers were really doing when I went to ABT performances. :-)

      • DC Darling – if your friend is in the DC area, Maryland Youth Ballet has a good adult program. They’re located in downtown Silver Spring, within walking distance of the Silver Spring metro stop. Don’t know if this location would work for your friend, but I just wanted to mention it.

      • Re pointe: not necessarily.

        I started taking adult class in my 20s in New York, took about five years off, then went back to it. I started pointe after about a year (the second time around). I’ll never have banana feet, but you don’t have to start as a child to develop the right foot and ankle strength for pointe.

        The bigger challenge, really, is finding beginning pointe classes for adults. Kathy Mata at the San Francisco Dance center and Kathy Sullivan at Steps in New York are two I know of.

        One of my Tumblr friends blogs about starting ballet as an adult; it’s mercietchatons [dot] tumblr [dot] com if you’re interested.

        • ooo, thx for the blog and the studio rec, Kanye.. I’ve been dreaming about getting back to dance for years!

          • Good luck! I love being happy all day long knowing I’m going to class in the evening. I’m kind of ballet-obsessed, in a completely unrealistic way.


    • I did ballet growing up, and I still take class on-and-off. Typically, I take an adult ballet class which can include those who are brand new to ballet and those more like me. I would look for a beginning adult ballet class and call the school first to see if it would be appropriate for your level, what to wear, etc. Especially adult classes can widely vary in instruction, so if you don’t like the instructor’s approach I would try another studio until you find someone you like. I think its very cool of you to want to start!

      Unlike other exercise regimes, this will be a completely different way of moving your body. It will feel weird and unnatural at first. My advice is to focus on the “barre” portion of the class to get some basics down, and try to just have fun in “centre” and dance your heart out with what you know. It will take time to get your brain to communicate ballet to the rest of your body, but It’s great exercise. Have fun!

    • I started taking ballet classes when I was about 15, then off and on through college and grad school, a break of about 7 years, and have been back for about 2.5 years.

      I love it. It’s a serious workout – even when you feel like you aren’t really doing much at the barre, you’ll be breathless and sweating 10-15 minutes in. The barre can kind of feel like a slog, but it’s where you learn the basics and the terminology. I second what Sarah said – barre is for technique, center is for fun! Just enjoy the music and the movement. One thing I love about ballet classes is that it gives me a way to be a little creative (within the bounds of the choreography) and dramatic in a way I can’t be in real life.

      It will probably take some patience to get to the point where you feel like you are really dancing. Ballet has a very specific language and specific techniques, so just keep going and soon enough it will sink in. Also, I know it can seem intimidating but really, no one else is watching you (unless they are unsure of the next steps in the combination and are hoping you know them!) and the teacher can see you wherever you stand – avoid the temptation to huddle in a clump at the back! It drives me crazy in my class sometimes – we have this big, beautiful studio and about a third of the room nearest the mirrors in the front is empty. I find it really difficult to dance in a clump of people, so all the squishing toward the back drives me nuts, and actually tends to drive me to the front of the room. Haven’t been bitten by a mirror yet.

      I was also noticing in my class the other day, that no matter what the size of the dancer, we all had pretty great legs!

    • Yes, I found it is terrific for forgetting about work for 90 minutes because it takes such concentration. Pick a spot by the mirror and wear clothing fitted enough to see your body outline, this will help your technique (before you can get into bad habits) and this will make it easier.
      Polly D is right. It is true, everyone is so busy concentrating that they aren’t looking at you so I’d recommend the front of the room where you can see the teacher.
      I love it!

  26. DC Darling :

    Just received the Skirt in Coral Spice….not pleased. Much more of a peach color in real life. Which only washes me out. Kicking myself for not going with my gut and getting Green Amazon when I had the chance (and they had it left in my size).

    • But the skirt is not going anywhere near your face, is it? Would it *really* wash your legs out?

      *These questions are cracking me up. I’m in such an odd mood.

      • DC Darling :

        Coming clean. I only wanted Green Amazon because I want to be an AMAZON in real life.

        But saying the coral color washes me out sounded way more legit.

        Maybe I should just convert WW’s costume to a professional outfit and wear that…..I too am in an odd mood.

    • I just received the Skirt in Blue Spectrum. I. love. it.

      • DC Darling :

        Gah I liked Blue Spectrum too but already have a blue/purple skirt. Should’ve just gotten Green like I wanted. EFF.

      • I ordered this one in 2 petite sizes and can’t wait to get it! Really hope one of them works; I’ve tried the Skirt once before and it fit great but wasn’t flattering but I’ve lost a few lbs and I’m hoping that that will change things.

        • Charmed Girl :

          Stylish ladies– I went out on a limb and got the blue spectrum. Normally, I’m more of a neutrals person for skirts/ pants for work and so not sure how to style this for work. What are some of your great ideas?

  27. My best friend just got into Med School in Portland. I’m so excited for her because I know she has been working so hard for this. I want to get her a “Congrats on getting into Med School” gift. Anyone from Portland for suggestions on area specific gifts? Or any gift suggestions in general?

    • Portland, Oregon? You could get her some nice smoked salmon and Tillamook cheese. My parents joke that that gift from a friend is what induced them to move there 30 years ago.

      Or, more high end, a nice Pendleton wool blanket.

    • Clarifying. Portland, Oregon.

    • DC anonymous :

      Not from Portland but have family there — maybe a giftcard to Stumptown or a popular coffee shop near the med school campus? Coffee is huge in Portland and, from what I hear, also essential to surviving med school. :)

    • Clothes that work well in Portland’s rainy winter weather, if she’s not from a similar climate? I lived in Portland for a year and found myself in dire need of functional rain gear, as well as wool socks and cuddly sweaters. And, I second the Stumptown recommendation.

    • What about a really fabulous umbrella? Every girl needs one, especially one going to Portland.

      • But it mists so often there instead of straight out raining, that most of us actually barely carry umbrellas!

      • Oregonians don’t use umbrellas – they wear raincoats. It’s sort of a cultural preference, also a way to spot someone from out of town. Depending on the person, though, you could buy her a pair of rainpants!

    • Not everyone’s thing, but The Meadow is one of my favorite Portland shops. a t t h e m e a d o w [dot] c o m.
      They have crazy gourmet salts, chocolates, bitters, and flowers.

    • Gift certificate for a local coffeeshop located near her school? She’ll need it first year.

      And its very thoughtful of you to want to show your friend how proud you are of her!

  28. MustLoveCats :

    If you wear hose, what brand do you buy that holds up the best? I prefer thigh highs myself. Can you buy them in bulk somewhere so that you can replace one leg without tossing the whole pair? Anyway, looking for a recommendation for the best brand and the best deal for thigh highs.

    • You can buy the Hanes Silk Reflections (a favorite here) in 3 packs of thigh high here:

      I used to wear them a lot then started having a reaction to the stuff that makes them stay up. I got welts after wearing them all day.

    • Romans et al. :

      I swear by the Italian brand – Filodoro. I get my panty hose from shapings (dot) com a place out of Canada…worth the extra $ to ship to us for the durability and variety of their stock. I know they carry thigh-highs there, but haven’t looked into them.

      No, I don’t have a financial relationship with them, just love their product line and knowledge/suggestions since 2000.

      • Kelly in Chicago :

        Ditto on the Filodoro line. And just FYI that thigh highs on the Shapings site are called “stay ups.”

  29. Fashion Backward? :

    After the discussion on collars in/out for buttondowns with suits, I realized that I generally wear them in, except when I wear a particular chocolate brown suit and light-blue buttondown shirt in satin, where I am an outtie. I love the color combination in general and on me in particular, and I thought it looked good with that particular suit collar. It occured to me this morning that I may be years behind the curve with the brown/blue colors. My inner three-year-old screams “you like it! wear it anyway!,” but really, should I ditch that combo and wear the (awesome) light-blue shirt more with my grey and black suits? or – how daring for me! – with my red suit? FWIW – I work in a relatively conservative environment, but I’m now the most senior woman in my office so I get to set the general tone.

    Which leads to another question: how do I communicate to the more junior women in my department that just because I tend to be very conservative with color and style, they can be a bit more forward? I am terrible with anything other than suits (bottoms and tops match!) and I wear a lot of neutrals. I get complimented, but only because I fear change, and often fear color, so I now only wear styles and neutrals that are very classic and Iknow look good on me. I’d have no problem at all, however, if a staff member showed up in an orange sheath and a bright pink tailored jacket, for example, depending on her meeting schedule that day.

    • On the first question, my inclination is that if you have an outfit that you like and you are comfortable wearing, wear it. It sounds like you think the shirt is particularly fabulous, though, so I would put it in the rotation to wear with your other suits, too.

      As for setting the tone in the office, can you compliment the more junior women when they wear something colorful? Example: That’s a great scarf, I’d love to get more color into my outfits (or something like that). However, if your office is conservative, I don’t know that anyone will really feel comfortable being too bold. While you might approve of a pink blazer, I might not want to be remembered as “the girl in the pink blazer” by my male bosses, if it’s really that conservative.

      • And by that last sentence, I definitely don’t mean that I would care more about what my male bosses thought than what you as my female boss thought, just that I would be hesitant to break from office culture.

      • Former MidLevel :


      • What’s the problem with brown and blue together? This is the first I’m hearing of this. FWIW, I’m wearing a bright blue dress, mocha-colored blazer, and patent leather nude pumps today.

      • Since starting to read this blog, I have developed this system: Two neutrals and a color. When you feel comfortable, add another color. Bright belts, shoes, and bags count. Scarves count.

        Your blue/brown combo sounds great. But you could also add a coral belt to that outfit. Or yellow shoes. Or a red necklace. Depending on the style of your top, that blue could be a neutral. I think you could add some accessories in color, and it would add a lot.

    • Yes, you may and should wear the awesome blue shirt with as many suits as you can. Because color is awesome.

      As for communicating that color is ok in the office without changing your own wardrobe, maybe changing the office decor would be a subtle way to do it? New artwork, different flower arrangements, paint, etc. People are often influenced by the environment and if the office is drab, it can weigh down on people. Use atypical inks when marking up drafts (like green or indigo). Order different colored post-its. Small things that people notice without announcing that things are DIFFERENT.

      And as for your own style – it sounds good to me. You know what works for you and what you can put up with. Although, I’m going to sneakily suggest mention that your wardrobe sounds like the perfect backdrop for some awesome jewelry. So maybe you can use accessories to convey that personality in work attire is a-okay.

    • MissJackson :

      I assume that you’re the boss? If so, I agree that the best way to indicate to the more junior women that they can feel free to wear brighter colors and generally be more adventurous is to (1) see if you can’t work in at least some color to your own wardrobe (doesn’t have to be a full-stop orange sheath — maybe start with a bold scarf or statement necklace) and (2) compliment women when they do wear something more colorful which is a signal to them that they are appropriate.

      (Choose your words carefully, though. As a frequent color-wearer and someone who perhaps pushes the envelope of conservative law firm dressing, I am very sensitive to people’s comments about my clothing. I wore J.Crew’s Tippi sweater in leopard print with a black pencil skirt and a beige blazer (paired with very conservative heels and pearls) a week or so ago and a [male] paralegal made a comment about my “exotic outfit” which made me hide in my office for the remainder of the day. I’d stick with “that color is stunning on you” or “Great dress!” or whatever — make sure that it’s true and clearly a compliment as opposed to a call-out!)

      Also, if loving brown and light blue together is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

      • Fashion Backward? :

        Thanks all. Ru is clearly an instigator, trying to make me go out and buy more jewelry. (Heh heh. I can do that!) And Miss Jackson is probably right about being careful how I phrase my compliments, but that may be the best way to let them know.

        I’m not off to find someone who knows how to wear a scarf without looking like a WWI aviator, and seeing if she’ll teach me. Baby steps, right? This season’s color trend may suck me in by, oh, November.

      • Just a thought that the comment might have been a compliment, just a clumsily worded one? I often try and compliment people who look cute but sometimes it probably comes out a bit weird as it’s hard to find descriptors at short notice. I think “exotic’ for leopard print jumps to mind because leopard is an exotic animal. He possibly meant it was a unique and really attractive look but couldn’t quite come up with the right words. Also if you are not sure if something is a compliment, just assume it is. I just said “Thanks!” when someone in the office commented on how bright my shirt was :)

    • Compliment women anytime they wear clothing more adventurous than yours. It will let them know that you are okay with them wearing a style different from the more conservative options that you prefer for yourself.

  30. Has anyone tried Sephora’s Age Defy Moisture Cream spf 15? I got a couple samples and have to say was a bit impressed. It went on smoothly (maybe a bit heavy), nice smell, and wasn’t too greasy. I’m not sure how it will feel in warmer weather but I’d love to hear of any good/bad reviews from the hive!


    • Not the same product, but I have been using Sephora’s SPF 15 daily moisturizer for several years, and I really like it. I don’t think they make the particular version anymore (and my stocks are unfortunately low, plus potentially expired). I have found it to be good year-round and non-greasy.

  31. 193143 9180Hey I was just searching at your web site in Firefox and the image at the top with the link cant show up properly. Just thought I would let you know. 70656

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