Wednesday’s TPS Report: “Flight of Fancy” Blouse

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

fc flight of fancy blouseThis strikes me as a great silk blouse — the fit is flattering, the cut is interesting (love those split dolman sleeves), and the print seems typical from afar, but is actually fairly whimsical up close. Love it. I’d try it with a turtleneck or something with long sleeves beneath it. It’s $128 at Dillards in sizes 0-12 — free shipping on orders of $99+ when you use your Dillards card. French Connection “Flight of Fancy” Blouse

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  1. I was thinking I’d post “haha, at first I thought those were large flying birds, but now that I’ve zoomed and seen that they’re actually [..?] I could maybe see wearing it.” But no! They are in fact large flying birds. Not my speed. But I am always looking for nice printed blouses.

  2. surrounded by lawyers :

    Props to Kat once again for posting something that doesn’t look like everything else. Getting dressed in the morning is the one creative outlet in my life, so even if I don’t particularly like something on here, I really appreciate the spirit of the choice.

    • Agree. I’m not in love with this particular bird print, but I just recently ordered something relatively similar from Nordstroms on the sale (it is beige with a bows print), and I was querying whether I was crazy to want to wear it to work. Glad to see some support for the whimsical prints!

      Here’s the one I ordered:

      • surrounded by lawyers :

        Nice! I would have to go with the other colorway/pattern myself, because it would be better on me. But yes–at least in my office, this would be A-OK. Enjoy!

      • Anon @ 12:04pm – the bow blouse is very sheer from the photograph (even with a your-skin-color cami underneath, I think the cami would still be very visible). For that reason alone, I’d keep it weekend-only

        • 1204 anon here. I did see the sheerness. I’m going to play around with foundation garments. Another shirt I have like this looks great with a black or red long-sleeve tissue-weight shirt under it (the key is for the foundation garment to be obviously “intentionally” visible), so I’m hoping to replicate that.

          • A. I love your bow blouse.
            B. I see nothing wrong with wearing it with a black cami underneath to work. In fact, I own many high end sheer blouses that are supposed to be worn with a visible black cami underaneath (A nude cami just looks like you’re trying for it to be nude and that’s weird/sexual).

            Ain’t nothing wrong with a visible cami at work.

          • Anonymous :

            @pearls – I disagree. It depends on the office. I’d say that in an office where bare arms are appropriate, then a sheer top with a visible cami underneath is also appropriate, providing that the cami covers your cleavage completely. I think a cami under a too-low-cut top is always inappropriate, because it draws the eye to exactly the area you’re trying to cover; an exception might be if the cami matches exactly the color of the top.

        • Shrug. I think a visible cami at work is tacky and inappropriate for the business-casual-midconservative offices I’ve worked in (meaning visible through the shirt, as opposed to visible to keep a deep v-neck from being too lowcut). To each his own.

          • Tacky and inappropriate is your attitude and calling people out with your bad fashion sense. I think it’s tacky to wear a low cut shirt with a visible cami, as if you’re wardrobe is all sexy and you have to fake it at the office. A see through shirt has a shirt underneath often for fashion.

          • Anonymous :

            I actually don’t think wearing a cami to raise the neckline of a shirt is appropriate, either, and only made that distinction in order to keep my response on point.


            I agree that some shirts are intentionally sheer and meant to be worn with visible (intentionally visible) camis. I just don’t think they look appropriate in a conservative business setting.

          • anon - chi :

            Hrm. Really? I wear a cami under V-necks often and I’ve never thought twice about it. I guess I could see the problem if your top is *super* low cut and you wear a cami under it, because then the top doesn’t look like it is intended for work. But I don’t see the problem with wearing a cami under a typical V-neck, i.e. one that could probably be worn without it by most people, because I like more coverage.

          • I have to say, I agree about not wearing sheer tops to work, at least not in a law office. If you wouldn’t wear the cami alone, I don’t think adding a peek-a-boo sheer top over it makes it appropriate. Bare arms are not the same thing as a spaghetti strap tank.

            On the other hand, I don’t see why using a cami to raise a neckline is inappropriate. In that case, it is just adding another layer of fabric.

      • Those are *beautiful* blouses. I may have to purchase them now. Dangit.

      • Anonymous K :

        I’m not a fan of Kat’s pic, but I love yours. I may just have to order it. I think it would look good with a brown tank under, as pictures. And, at my business casual office, it would be perfectly appropriate.

      • love! re: the cami issue, I have some shirts that are a leeeeetle too sheer (I am looking at you, Ann Taylor loft) and I wear a black cami underneath. I think if you really concentrate you can see the outline of the cami underneath the shirt, but I don’t think it looks trashy.

        BTW, I found the best.camis.ever:

      • Anonymous :

        This is cute (although these bows looked like birds to me too from afar). I love prints and I wonder why it is so hard to find blouses with prints in general. And they usually cost a fortune if they are good quality. Anthropologie often has adorable ones, but I find their pieces are not as well made as I would like.

    • Totally agree. I wouldn’t wear this myself but I really appreciate how Kat chooses clothing outside of the typical norm.

  3. Love the sleeves. I think there effect would be ruined by a turtleneck underneath.

    The print is again not for me, but I do like that the choices this week are more than just basics!

  4. Target Shopper :

    Early thread hijack, sorry –
    I need to restock my supply of white crewneck short-sleeve t-shirts, and Target doesn’t have them anymore. Any suggestions were I can pick some up? I like to wear them under sweaters and it’s starting to get chilly!

    • I find the Gap outlet store to be a great source for those kinds of shirts. Also, Lands End, if you’re looking for higher quality cotton and construction.

    • I am not sure where you are & if you have one near you, but I recently had to do this & had very good luck at Uniqlo — very good quality & great price at about $11

    • Anonymous K :

      I recently got a whole bunch of neutral (black, brown, white, cream) crewnecks (both long and short sleeved) at Kohl’s. I can’t attest to how long they’ll last, but the quality seems really good and they are on the thinner side (which is something I look for in layering pieces).

    • Target Shopper :

      Thanks ladies! There are no Kohl’s or Uniqlo near me, so I’ll check out Land’s End online.

  5. I love birds so this is right up my alley! Including the different sleeves and tie waist – great find for my round stomach. Not a fan of layering short over long, at least not for work; I’d probably wear this with a black pencil skirt, nondescript black hosiery (no ribs or textures) and black pumps, and let the avian whimsy be the focal point. (And I can just see sitting around in a meeting and all of a sudden my male co-worker leans forward and says “Are those… birds??”)

    • Agree! Love the print and feel it is absolutely office-appropriate. If a male co-worker had big cranes on his tie, I’d think that was unique and would probably lean forward and say, “Are those…birds?? Very nice!”

    • I like it, too! And your styling idea. Not sure how to make it work for fall/winter weather, though. Seems odd to layer a floaty silk top over another layer, but maybe I just haven’t tried it.

    • You know, I wasn’t in love with this blouse but now that I’m picturing wearing it the way you’ve described (although I might substitute black trousers for the pencil skirt) I absolutely love it!

  6. This is great — pretty & different, but still totally office appropriate, especially with a black blazer.

  7. This *is* a great blouse and I have had it on a few clients (I’m a fashion stylist). However, it’s not the best look for broad shoulders due to the positioning of the ruching on the shoulder points. Lovely for a fuller bust though and great for hiding extra little middle bits :)

    Love the birds and great with cream pearls!

    • Thanks for the tip about the positioning of the ruching! I love learning details like that.

  8. Parisienne :

    I have a beautiful print blouse cut just like that with a tie waist and a v neck. I find I only wear it with jeans. Fortunately, I did not pay that much for it. It think prints are a danger zone – a virtual no-no. Mother told me to avoid them, and mother was right. I just looked in my closet and I have almost no prints. And glad of it.

    • anon - chi :

      I’m curious – why the ban on prints? Do you mean big prints like this (identifiable birds) or all prints, like plaids or small polka dots?

  9. Off topic – Neiman Marcus is having a one day sale today on a bunch of stuff with up to 40% off on some items and free shipping with code NOVSHIP. Its worth taking a look.

  10. Help please. Phd or law school. I have to choose. Any comments?

    • Sure – what do you actually want to do with your life? In a perfect world, what is your 5 year plan and 10 year plan for where you’d like to be, what type of work you’d like to do, etc?

    • PhD in what? And how good a PhD program, and how good a law school? It makes little sense to go to any but a very good law school these days. And a PhD in many subjects (humanities, etc), even from a top school, is far from a guarantee of a job. A PhD in Engineering, etc, is probably another animal entirely.

      • It’s not even just the humanities these days. My sister’s fiance just got his PhD from the top school in his (science oriented) field this May and is doing a fellowship now because he couldn’t find a corporate or academic job. He told me the top graduate in his field was able to find a job at an okay university, but it was far from ideal.

        • AnonAnonAnon :

          I know an engineer with a PhD who can’t find a job to save his life. Frankly, experience is worth a lot more than a PhD in engineering. Now, engineering combined with MBA is invaluable.

    • Another Sarah :

      Where are you in your career? For some career tracks, if you’re younger, a Ph.D will automatically make you overeducated and overqualified, such that you will never fulfill your earning potential. If you’re older, or thinking of doing something that would require a Ph.D anyway (like the sciences), then a Ph.D would not be as big of a drop. But it all depends on you.

      If you want to make a lot of $$$ quickly, don’t do either.

    • From this alone I’d say not law school, even if not Phd either. I really don’t think law is a good choice unless you really really want to be a lawyer. There are plenty of other ways to make a living that don’t involve the insanity and stress of legal practice.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Agreed 100%. I was at an alumni event for my undergrad this past weekend, and upon learning that I was a lawyer, several of the students said “Oh, I was thinking about going to law school.” When I asked why, they usually started out by saying, “Well, I’m a poli-sci major and…[other vague reasons, usually including the phrase “helping people”]” which caused me to give The Speech several times that you shouldn’t go to law school just because you can’t think of anything better to do and you think you’re going to make a lot of money. Instead, try 3 years without a job, $100k+ in debt, and some stats on who gets the biglaw jobs and what schools they are statistically likely to come from, and what the median attorney salary is. Now, if you *actually* want to be a lawyer, and you know what that means, awesome, let’s talk about it.

        If you’re not sure about whether you want to get a JD or a PhD, it seems clear to me you don’t really want to get a JD.

        • anon - chi :

          THIS. A thousand times, this. Don’t look at law school as some sort of default position. Even if you think you really really want to be a lawyer, do yourself a favor and find an associate to shadow for a couple of days, or at least one willing to talk to you about the good the bad and the ugly.

        • Co-sign. I was totally that annoying girl, and now I am the woman telling everyone not to make my mistakes.

          I loved law school. I hate being a lawyer. They are two completely different things. Unless you can actually say why you want to BE A LAWYER, don’t go to law school. The only exception is if you are super-rich or have a full scholarship and will not graduate with any debt. I, however, will go cry in my corner over my 6 figure debt that will never go away.

          • I am the opposite. I did not enjoy law school, but I really like my job as a lawyer. I work in government and so the hours are not bad (I very, very rarely work evenings or weekends, really only when I am preparing for court), and I really enjoy the work I do.

        • I agree completely. I am in law school right now and want to be a lawyer. Many of my peers are here as a “default option” and are seriously questioning the decision. They are all absolutely miserable and frankly, I’m kinda tired of their “but I don’t know if I want to be here” drama. Figure it out BEFORE you sign up.

      • associate :

        Agreed. The question alone shows that the answer is probably not law school.

        • The answer may not be PhD, either. Presumably, someone in the position to apply for a doctoral degree program has some education in that field already, perhaps even a Masters. If after studying something for 4-6 years you are unsure if you should continue to study it intensely for another 3-7 years or switch horses to law, that sounds rather uncommitted to what surely must be a LOT more work.

          A lot more information is needed to truly parse this question. OP, can you tell us more?

    • The market for lawyers is really poor right now. The number of law school graduates has increased exponentially over the past few years. Recent graduates with decent grades, etc. are having a very tough time finding work, especially work that pays enough to cover the student loans, and are competing in the job market with experienced attorneys. Law school is not as promising as it once was and with a flooded market it is not as respected either.

      I’m a lawyer and I have a job, thankfully. I don’t make near as much money as I had expected and my student loans are ridiculous. I like my job, but I don’t love it and could be just as happy doing a number of other things, which would probably pay more money. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I’m sure others will disagree.

    • While it’s true that the law market isn’t ideal, a law degree can be used in many types of jobs, while many PhDs can only seek work in ultra-competitive academia. If that’s your path, you may want to consider whether you’re willing to move to a rural area if that’s the only place where you can find a job at a university…and even those jobs can be incredibly tough to get. Agreed that you should think hard about whether either of these choices is what you really want. Also, shadow a few people in jobs that you think would interest you to learn first-hand about the type of work that you could do with either degree. No matter what route you take, good luck!

      • anon - chi :

        ARGH. Do not get a law degree if you do not want to practice law. It is a professional degree, which means it is intended to prepare you to practice the profession of law. Nothing else. Everyone has anecdotal evidence of someone who has a law degree and is in another field, but having a JD can actually handicap you in many other professions – it can make you look overqualified and expensive, and it can carry a negative stigma (that you are aggressive, hard to work with, etc). I assure you having a JD does not make you qualified to work in another business. If you want that, go get a business degree or whatever the applicable degree is.

        • I agree. My pet peeve is when people say that they are getting (or want to get) a JD bc it will open so many doors and can be used in lots of different fields.

          • I think it’s one thing to say that you can work in many different fields as a lawyer (true – nearly every company in every industry employs lawyers) vs. working in many different roles (false; by and large a lawyer is a lawyer). I don’t have a problem with people saying this so long as they mean the former.

    • Anonymous :

      Need more information. What kind of PhD program? What kind of law would you want to practice? What are you passionate about? What’s your work experience in both fields?

      I’m a lawyer. My sister was admitted to a school for theology (masters), and law school. She deferred theology for a year and went to law school, due in part to my strong recommendation (sorry, sister dearest!). She had a full ride to both schools, which helped give her some flexibility. If you aren’t passionate about law, law school is not fun. My sister completed her first year in law school, then dropped out in favor of theology, her true passion. Not sure how many theology professors there are, out in the world, but law can be unpleasant if you aren’t really passionate about it (which I am).

      Where do you see yourself working? How much debt would you take on? Would the degrees help you in your career, or are you looking at the degrees to provide you with a career (not saying there’s anything wrong with that…). Lots of factors to consider. Good luck!

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t go to law school if you’re not sure about it. Would you buy a $200,000 house you weren’t sure you wanted to live in?

      Assuming the PhD is fully funded, I guess there’s no harm in going. But frankly both of these degree programs are serious commitments and if you can’t make up your mind between these two options, you probably aren’t committed enough to be completely happy and successful at either. I’d advise to take a gap year to think about it.

      • newbielawyer :

        There’s definitely harm on a PhD even if it’s free. Like folks mentioned, it might make you overqualified for the jobs you want. You’re also losing out on all the money you could make during those 4-6 years as well as advancement opportunities in a career.

      • surrounded by lawyers :

        I got a PhD with full funding, and there still can be “harm” in going even under these circumstances. I’m not saying it’s necessarily not worth it, but if you do it you make a number of substantial sacrifices:

        –Years of not earning a real wage (more of them than for law school, by at least one year but more likely 2-4)
        –Deferral of starting a retirement account or savings
        –Years out of the mainstream workforce, if you plan to go on to do anything other than academics–when you apply for private sector jobs, many of your competitors will have 5+ years of experience over you

        Many people also report intense emotional setbacks from the strange experience that is being a doctoral student. Some departments are extremely competitive, and some faculty are all about cutting students down. This is not to say that such environments don’t exist elsewhere, but I do think PhD training is unique in how isolated and long-term it is. Even when you’re done, it remains a small world, and you’re still in the same small field (nationally), with the same small group of colleagues. In other words, the things and people that bother you are much harder to avoid, and do not go away.

      • “if you can’t make up your mind between these two options, you probably aren’t committed enough to be completely happy and successful at either”

        This x 1,000,000. Graduate school is not and should be not be a means to delaying entering the real world (if that’s what you’re thinking, I don’t know). If you’re really passionate about one of those options – go for it. If you’re passionate about BOTH – well then think long and hard about the commitment it’s going to take to get said degree, your employment opportunities and quality of life in that field, and what’s going to make you happiest.
        But if you just can’t make up your mind – find a job, work for a few years, and then see how you still feel about either the JD or PhD.

    • newbielawyer :

      If you are trying to abstractly decide like that, I think the answer is: neither (right now at least).

      I recommend reading: “Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student’s Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D.” and “What Color Is Your Parachute” (and to the exercises). To think about becoming a lawyer, please talk to lawyers in different industries and small/big companies. There’s also lots of great advice here.

    • In-House Mouse :

      Other posters have covered whether you should go to school at all. I’m going to chime in with the assumption that you MUST choose between grad school or law school. Most importantly, think about your personality.
      Are you a self-starter and can you work independently? Do you like open-ended projects? Can you keep your eye on a long-term goal (on the order of months/years) and still perform day-to-day tasks moving toward that goal? Are you OK with working on your own most of the time? Then go for the Ph.D.
      Are you goal oriented? Do you like deadlines on the order of days/weeks? Do you like having the structure of an academic calendar? Do you like external pressures? Do you like going to lectures? Do you like collaborating and are you a social learner? Then go to law school.
      I started out in a Ph.D. program and ended up in law school. Although I’m very self-disciplined, I just didn’t have the self-motivation it takes to finish a Ph.D. Now that I’m a lawyer, I’m glad to have the external pressure from clients as motivation to get things done!

  11. With all respect, if you’re asking the question, then the right answer (for now) is neither. Both law school and a Ph.D. are a huge undertaking, stressful and expensive. You should undertake the degree only if you want the career to which the degree is geared, and if you are still unsure about what career you want, you should try to get some more experience in each field until you are sure. There are way too many lawyers saying “I wish I’d followed my real passion.” Don’t be one of them!

    • This is really good advice. Where were you six years ago when I made the decision to go to law school?

    • This. Don’t do either without really doing your research and making sure it’s something you REALLY, REALLY want. Especially for a Ph.D., since that is a longer undertaking (I have both a Ph.D. and a J.D.) and you 99% of people hit a point where they want to quit. And for a J.D. it is a huge investment of $$ if you don’t have a full scholarship, so I wouldn’t do that without some serious thought either.

    • i'm nobody :

      your advice strikes me as going a bit too far; 90% of lawyers i know (myself included) asked themselves this question at some point.

    • Anonymous :

      Seriously, if you are soliciting anonymous blog comments to help you make this decision, then you need to take a step back, take some time off and figure out what you really want out of life and where these two paths will take you. These are long term commitments with lifelong consequences–you need to make a thoughtful, informed decision.

  12. Talbots is having one of their flash sales – 30% off all dresses from 12pm-3pm in your time zone, code DRESS.
    (No Talbots affiliation)

  13. Any tips on writing year-end self assessments? This is the first time I’ve ever had to write one, and my raise and performance rating is (partially) based on it. I’ve started it, but I feel like I’m writing college admissions essays again, trying to prove how great I am. It feels very obnoxious!

    I have accomplished a lot this year and I want to communicate that, but I also hate to sound like I’m beating my own drum, particularly when I only have a few years of work experience on my resume. Anyone have any tips for making the process less painful?

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Beat that drum loudly, long, and proud. No one else is going to beat it for you, so take full advantage of your chance to do it. I had to do mine recently and to help overcome my own feelings of awkwardness, I mentally started the answer to every section with “I am awesome because…” I listed many of the things I did this year, trying to tie it back each time to how I made the firm a lot of money/kept the client happy/made a partner’s life easier. I also had my mentor look over my draft self-eval, and he punched it up some more before I submitted it.

      And every time I started feeling obnoxious writing it, I would say to myself: “What would a man do?” He’d beat that drum until he put a hole through it. This is a man’s industry and I would be doing myself no favors at this time to evidence the traditionally girlish behaviors like modesty. Definitely a NGDGTCO moment.

      It doesn’t matter if you only have a few years of experience. You “accomplished a lot this year,” in areas appropriate for your level of experience. Own it proudly!

      • You’re right, thanks. I do need to speak up myself because like you said, no one else is going to do it for me. I may use your “I am awesome because…” trick. That may help me work through the writers block I am currently suffering from!

      • Great advice (and awesome use of your metaphor!).

    • Ditto to this question! Thanks for the answer.

    • We have to do this in my office, and here’s how I handle it: I make a list of accomplishments (I’d suggest starting a running list to get a head start next year); group them into logical categories, like improved efficiency, better customer service, etc.; and use those categories to structure my review. I try to stick to the facts and include numbers whenever possible.

      Although you obviously want to emphasize the positive, be sure to mention at least one area where you want to improve and detail the steps you’ll take to do so. This will help it seem less like a “brag sheet.”

      Good luck!

      • Good idea on the running list for next year…going to steal that advice! Thanks!

      • Thanks Corporettes! I was just about to delete a “Thank You” email from my boss. Instead I created a positive feedback folder that I will be using from now on!

        • I love my feedback file! Besides the obvious benefit for performance reviews, I like look at it whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated… it gives me a nice little boost :-)

      • Definitely save those above-and-beyond thank-yous. In fact, I have been chided for not immediately forwarding those along to supervisors. Real-time praise during the year, and then bring it up in your memo year-end.

        Also, I keep a draft email in my drafts folder that I use to keep track of accomplishments during the year, too. 2/13, gave presentation on x, 3/30, wrote client alert on y, 4/1, recommended by z as group special resource, etc. Makes writing the love-myself memo so much easier. That is my least favorite thing I have to write each year. Followed closely by time entries.

        • This is such good advice. I’m going to have to start doing this for myself.

    • I’m going to learn so much from this thread. Too bad I just completed my yearly eval …. One tip I have is that if there is something you are worried about, to own up to it. I knew I was going to have a negative review on a project once, and I proactively addressed it in my review, contrasting it to other (bigger, later) projects I handled better. Providing context for any potential problems is important, particularly if you can show a trend line away from that problem.

    • Anonymous :

      Beat your own drum, loudly. Try to keep your assessment brief (bullet points if possible) and to the point so your boss actually reads the whole thing. Don’t ignore mistakes you made because your boss will surely remember them, but explain how you learned from them or turned them into positive things.

    • divaliscious11 :

      This is EXACTLY the time to beat your own drum….
      Have you, and if not you should, keep a professional development file of all your “atta boys”, congrats etc… from your bosses/clients? now is the time to pull it out and build the case for yourself. Can you quantify how the work you did added dollars to the bottom line or saved dollars? Pull all of that out and you should have the building blocks of your self evaluation.

      • I do have a folder of “atta boys” and “congrats” that I’d nearly forgotten about. Time to pull it out – thanks for the reminder!

    • For my eval, we have a long list of categories and have to rate where we think we stand on a scale of 1-8 with 1-2 being below expectations, 3-5 being meets expectations, and 6-8 being exceeds expectations.

      Any advice on handling this?

      • Don’t ever give yourself anything below a “meets expectations.” You should never agree that you aren’t doing your job.

      • I don’t use such a scale in my office, but the way I think I’d deal with that is that I’d mentally condense the scale to 6-8. For areas where you could improve, I’d give yourself a 6. For areas you feel you’ve done well, a 7. And for areas that are really outstanding, an 8. Maybe ONE 5 if there’s an area where you’ve really done NOTHING right. :-)

        • completely agree. Don’t give them anything to hang their hats on come promotion time.

    • Does anyone else feel like it’s basically just a waste of time? Sure, the evaluation committee reads our evals, but based on my evaluation meeting and written report, it seems like all that really matters is what my supervisors say about me – not what I write in my self-evaluation.

  14. Notalawyer :

    That is a pretty blouse. My first thought on looking at the detail was ‘cranes’?!? Those are cranes! I think if I wore it I’d be afraid some jokester would come up and ask me if I was trying to subliminally announce that I was pregnant.

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