Wednesday’s TPS Report: Silk abstract floral dress

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

Banana Republic Silk abstract floral dressToday I’m liking this silk abstract floral dress from Banana Republic. Floral dresses can be great for all sorts of things — baby showers! ladies’ luncheons! etc. — but they can also work for the office if accessorized correctly, i.e., erring on the professional side of things. Here, for example, I’d wear a dark muted blazer (black, navy, dark brown) instead of a cardigan, and I’d wear closed-toe pumps instead of peep-toes or sandals. Even though I love a pearl necklace I’d stay away from that here and maybe go for a statement necklace, or even a scarf that compliments the colors of the dress (a solid blue one, perhaps). The dress is $150 at Banana Republic, available in regular, talls, and petites.Banana Republic Silk abstract floral dress

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  1. I own this dress, and it’s great. Like Kat said, I can wear it to anything. Plus, it’s very lightweight, which is fantastic as the weather is reaching sweltering again.

  2. Its a beautiful dress. I cannot imagine it looking good with a dark blazer, however.

    Is it that horrible to be pretty and feminine at the office?

    • I don’t think it is ever horrible to be pretty and feminine.

      I do not, however, think that this dress says that the wearer expected to be in the office that day. I’d wear it to a work function (cocktail party at the bosses’s house?), but not to the office.

      Maybe I’m one of those horrible b*tches doing my fellow women a disservice, but appearances count in the workplace as they do everywhere, and a woman in this dress was standing next to a woman in a smart pair of trousers and a cashmere tee, or a pencil skirt and a great blouse, I’d automatically assume the 2nd woman was more capable because she looked the part. Great dress, just not for work.

      • Agreed.

        Learn the rules then break them properly.

      • This would be just fine in my office. It’s structured and doesn’t appear to be shiny. Obviously, not for a formal day when others are wearing suits, but for everyday I think it’s a great work dress.

        • I think again this is one of the situations of knowing your workplace. This would also be totally appropriate where I work (even without a sweater or blazer over it), but I could see how it may not be at someone else’s workplace.

    • There’s pretty and feminine that also looks strong, powerful, put together, competent, and professional, and there’s pretty and feminine that just looks pretty and feminine. I think that this dress toes the line, but with the right accessories (including a structured jacket), it can be in the first category. But just looking pretty and feminine and girlish doesn’t say “serious competitor” any more than boyish clothing and a bowl cut says “serious competitor for a male worker.

      • anonymous :

        Depends on the workplace. I don’t think it should matter, but it can.

        I don’t think being tall should matter. But studies have shown that male CEOs are disproportionately tall.

        A fellow lawyer, a guy, once pointed out to me that the partners in our department all had full heads of hair and it wasn’t an accident. This was inarguably one of the top of the firms in the country.

    • I also can’t see this dress with a dark blazer or cardigan. I’m currently obsessed with yellow so in my mind’s eye, this dress would look very nice with a yellow jacket/cardigan, although that may be too Easter-ish.

      For a muted look, I’d go with olive, light-to-medium gray, dusty blue or a sand (in between tan and brown) for a cardigan or jacket. Any iteration of green that is more yellow than blue would look very nice with this dress as well.

    • I’d wear it with a coral or yellow sweater. Much better than dark IMO and I prefer sweaters to blazers. I don’t think that it’s unfeminine to wear a dark blazer, though – it’s a matter of personal style.

    • I bought this dress a few weeks ago to wear to my son’s baptism. It was a real challenge to find a dress that fit my cleavage as I’m still nursing. I love the dress and received lots of compliments. Even ordering a petite, I still had to have the straps shortened, but that is typical for me. I will definitely wear it for church, but it seems too much like an easter dress for me to wear it to work due to the combination of slightly shiny fabric and the pattern and colors.

  3. I have it, too, and echo everything CW says. I discussed this dress in a thread awhile back — one poster thought it ran true to size, but I thought it was maybe a bit on the larger size. I have it in a 0P, and I often don’t need to go petite for BR.

  4. Diana Barry :

    Pretty, although too blue/pastel for my skin tone.

  5. This is a pretty dress, I have seen in store and it looks as lovely in person as in the picture. My only concern with stuff like this from mass retailers like BR is that it is going to be worn by *so* many people and will be *so* instantly recongnizable as “that BR dress” from seeing it in every BR window on every other corner (BR stores are almost like Starbucks in NYC – they’re everywhere). Since I first saw it in a store window 2 weeks ago, I have already seen this dress worn by at least 5 different women around town, inc. one in my office. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! But, personally, I am a bit averse to clothes that are so prevalent and instantly recognizable. There’s a GAP dress with a certain flower motif that I still see from time to time and I always think, “that’s that Gap dress from 5 years ago!”
    Though, of course, on the flip side, all the women that I saw wearing this dress looked lovely . . .

    • This has become a real problem at my company. Everyone shops at the same places. There’s only so much you can do with accessories etc. in an office setting.

      No suggestions, just venting.

  6. Love that dress! On an unrelated note, I seem to recall that I saw something on this website like a foot wrap or tube that you could wear with open toe, open back shoes. I’m wearing new patent leather peep toe slingbacks today, and my feet are sweating and uncomfortable! (sorry for the TMI). And they are real leather, but does patent leather not breathe as well as regular leather? Seems that way. I would love to find something I could wear that wouldn’t show, but cover the part of my foot inside the shoe. I’ve searched, but can’t find the post I’m thinking of. Any suggestions would be welcome.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I think Hue makes something like what you’re talking about (stocking material tube). I wear their sheer hidden liners several days a week in my heels.

      • I just discovered these! I’m wearing some Hue sheer liners in my heels today, and it really helps with the sweaty food problem. I also got some that just cover the toes, to wear with slingbacks, and some toeless ones (with a thong between the toes) to wear with peep-toes. But I’m not sure what you could use in shoes that are open in both the front and the back, other than some kind of insole. Anyway, do a search on for peds — that’s how I found mine.

        • Thanks, these would almost work, but they are a little wide. At least I know they make things like this.

        • I see these peeking out of people’s shoes all the time and i jsut dont get it? It looks so silly. Now, maybe there are some good ones that dont show (and for obvious reasons, I dont know about) but Ive never found them.

          • It looks less silly than bloody heels!

          • Sydney Bristow :

            I don’t have the tube ones, but I wear nude peds with my flats all the time. They aren’t supposed to show, but they peek out. They match my skin tone pretty well, but definitely show. I’m sure it looks silly, but its worth it to me because it prevents some major foot odor and keeps my shoes in better shape.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            The Hue ones stay pretty well hidden, but yes, sometimes they peek out and one must adjust them. Oh well. Along with what Eponine said, shoes sticking to feet cause painful blisters. Not to mention expensive shoes ruined by sweaty feet, especially in the summer. Shoes last a lot longer, and stay in much better shape, when one wears liners.

  7. AccountingNerd :

    Threadjack: Watch suggestions? I’ve never worn a watch before because I have very bony/small wrists, and I feel like it just emphasizes it. But, I’ve been seeing some gorgeous watches on different people lately and would like to try one. I’d like to spend less than $300. Any suggestions? Do you all wear watches everyday? I think they look so professional/put together. Thanks!

    • This topic pops up from time to time. $300 = Movado, Swiss Army, nicer Seiko. It might help to decide in advance what you want (date, second hand, diamonds, two-tone).

      I’m kicking myself for walking away from a sale Omega Constellation yesterday. Promised myself a Cartier Tank Francais for my next birthday if I can get past the guilt of spending so much money on something like that (raised poor, still remember it).

      • Try RueLaLa. They contantly have very nice, expensive watches at huge discounts. I’ve often been disappointed that I already have a watch!

      • Barrister in the Bayou :

        6pm, Gilt, and even overstock have some great deals too!

    • I have very small and bony wrists as well, and I definitely think that a nice watch looks more put together (although I rarely use it to tell me the time). My husband bought me a Movado which I think works great on my frame and I love- it’s very similar to this one:

      But without the diamonds at the top and bottom of the face (just clean steel there) and with a pink face instead of the black (I’m fair skinned, and think that the pink looks nice and not too girly- the black would probably be very harsh on me, but might work if you have darker coloring). It’s small and delicate in a way that complements my tiny wrists, and I think that the solid band really gives it a nice, clean, professional look (I had always had leather bands before and thought that the metal ones looked too clunking, but love this one).

      I also like this one:

      (I know that both are over what you wanted to spend, but I’d use them as a basis to get ideas- I assume that mine was less than the first one because it doesn’t have the extra jewels, although my hubby definitely spends more on me than I would ever spend on myself!)

      • I purchased this Movado watch without the bling on the gold part It’s half the price of the blinged out version, plus I got the 25% discount during the F&F. I love it. I wore it unadjusted as a loose bracelet for a while until it began to annoy me. I got some links removed and it fits great. Very comfortable.

        You didn’t say what color (two-toned, gold-toned, etc) you were looking for, but I also like these from Seiko very much

        I’d suggest visiting different stores and just looking around. You never know what will catch your eye.

    • I have small, bony wrists as well and prefer to wear a watch loose – more like a bracelet. I love my Citizen Eco-Drive watch. It has a stainless steel, low profile band, a low profile face that has tiny little diamonds around it and it never needs a battery. I have had it for over five years and even when I get a different watch, I always come back to it. I checked their site and the models with the diamonds are over $300, but the models with swarovski crystals are mostly under $300. Definitely check them out!

    • Agree with the other suggestions (Citizen, Swiss Army, etc.). Also, consider Skagen — it’s a great watch and is very thin and comfortable to wear. And just FYI (maybe it’s obvious, but just in case), whatever watch you get, you can have a couple of links removed so that it fits you better — don’t be discouraged if every watch you try on seems large. I have had links taken out for every watch I’ve ever owned (save the leather band ones).

      And, yes, I wear mine every day. Feel utterly naked without it.

      • Second Skagen – I had to have 4 links taken out, but it fits snugly. They also have mesh bands, where the fit is infinitely adjustable, since you aren’t having to deal with links. It also has a very thin profile, so it won’t feel heavy and chunky.

        • skinny minny wrists :

          Third Skagen. I have super tiny wrists and can never ever wear bracelets unless they are adjustable in some sort of way. Skagen is the first watch I’ve been able to wear. They aren’t flashy and don’t look super expensive but their designs result in a substantial, hearty watch but petite enough to not overwhelm my bony wrists. And I think they are professional enough to pull off at the office yet casual enough that you can throw it on during the weekend. The “mesh” bands that Argie mentioned are glorious.

        • Love Skagen! They have some really pretty styles, they aren’t too expensive, the mesh bands are adjustable so they work well for small wrists, and even the glitzy ones are very lightweight.

          • Glad Skagen is getting the love! My SO gave me a Skagen watch when we first got together and had no money. I had it 5 years before I accidentally dropped it the wrong way on tile (oops!) and the face broke. I could now afford a more expensive watch but I just bought another Skagen because I loved my old one. It looks professional, it’s well made, long-lasting, and I’ve gotten a ton of compliments over the years about how nice it looks. Mine is similar to this but sans crystals:

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I love my Coach Madison watch and wear it every day. I got it on sale at Macy’s during one of their Friends & Family (& the Public) events.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I should add that I have very small wrists (thumb and pinky can touch if I circle my wrist with my other hand) and tried on a lot of watches in a range of prices to find one that didn’t overwhelm me. Many watches have large links which looked too big on me, plus didn’t offer as much size customization, so they still would be too big. One of the things I like about my watch is the small link size and small look to the links, so it suits me well.

        • I had to try it, and now know that my thumb and pinky touch around my wrist, too!

        • Wow. I can’t even touch my thumb and middle finger. I knew I had large bones, but wow.

      • I second the Coach recommendation. I also have a small wrist and I like some of their watches. They are made by Movado.

    • I also have a very small wrist. I have a Wittenauer and really like it. I think the key is to make sure you get a low profile watch with a smaller face so that it doesn’t look huge on your wrist. I wear my watch every day. I think I got it either on overstock or smartbargains.

    • I have an Emporio Armani tank watch with a black leather band. I got it at Nordstrom for about $200 and I love it. I think it’s a nice professional look, plus I just like to have a watch.

      It’s very similar to this one, except mine has numbers instead of roman numerals:

    • s in Chicago :

      No specific suggestions. But I would advise waiting another month or two if you’re not in a hurry to purchase. This time of year is big for sellers with graduations and weddings. I’ve seem much better deals as you hit mid summer and they’re looking to lower inventory.

  8. I have been eyeing this dress. It caught my eye in the store window a few weeks ago. I want it to come live with me.

  9. Pink Tartan is on Rue La La today. I’ve been super impressed with their quality. Everything fits me true to size.

    • I do love Pink Tartan, but I’ve found its clothes to consistently run very large. As in, I wear a size 10 pencil skirt at J. Crew, and a 6 in Pink Tartan. But the wild inconsistency in women’s clothing is a frequent lament around here, so I guess YMMV. :)

      • My secretary wears Pink Tartan. It is not appropriate for me though, because I am a lawyer (big law). Also, it is vanity sized like crazy. I am too thin to fit into most of their stuff. I wear a real 2.

        • Ellen?

        • How much does your secretary make? Even on sale, Pink Tartan runs upward of $300 I think. Many lawyers here wear suits that retail full price for less than that (not that expensive necessarily means work appropriate).

          But I really can’t figure out what’s inappropriate about Pink Tartan for a lawyer to wear (though I agree about the vanity sizing). Care to clarify?

          • Calirification: The comment was made by someone attempting to be mocking but who actually doesn’t know enough about Pink Tartan to make the snark work. Kind of like misspelling a word while complaining about someone’s grammar.

          • Anonymous :

            Psst: C-L-A-R…

          • I know! Never hit ‘reply’ in haste! I am going to pretend that it just goes to underscore what was saying ;)

        • What makes Pink Tartan inappropriate for a lawyer? I’m a lawyer and have items from Pink Tartan that are perfectly appropriate for work.

        • I wore a white jacket today. Before I even got to court, my coffee cup lid flew off and of course coffee got on my jacket. Nowhere else, just the white jacket. Never fails.

          • Oops. That was supposed to be a separate post.

          • You should carry a tide pen with you. It maybe won’t work so well for large spots, but it works awesome on smaller spills. I got blackberry juice sprayed all over my cream cardigen yesterday (windy department picnic = paper plates flying everywhere), and my tide pen got them all out.

  10. Nordstrom has a beautiful wool Theory dress marked 60% off for lucky sizes:

    I would buy it I weren’t required to wear a suit every day. Le sigh. Such a lovely dress!

    • I have this dress (though I bought it on Ebay with tags for about $75). It needs some tailoring at the top because it seems to be made for someone with linebacker shoulders (it gapes tremendously at the back). I think once tailored it’ll be wonderful. Theory’s wool fabric is unmatched IMO.

      • It’s beautiful, but how short is it? It looks really short on the model.

        • I recently ordered an expensive Theory dress (not this one) that was included on the “wear to work” page of the Theory website. It looked very nice on-line, but in reality it was skin tight and mini-skirt length. I’d only wear it work if I was a bartender (or maybe a hooker). Why do so many companies make dresses that are supposed to be for business wear so short? Why not err on the longer side and those who want to could have them hemmed?

        • found a peanut :

          It’s not too short at all. I’m 5’6″ and it hits right at the top of my knee.

    • Oooohhh, that’s beautiful. Too bad my size is not lucky today.

  11. Help! I bought this skirt:

    And I love it, but I have no idea how to style it for the summer. I’m an attorney in a business casual office (where it’s already 100 each day, so long sleeves are a no go) and I love some styling suggestions. Other than a white shirt, I’m stumped.

    • Anon in California :

      slate colored cap sleeve silk top or silky t-shirt? Or maybe a light grey? Looks like a pretty skirt.

    • How about a jewel tone blouse? I’m thinking cobalt blue, turquoise, deep orange, magenta? Black would work too. If you need a blazer to be more formal, cream or khaki for that.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      So pretty! I’m thinking a dusky blue or rose silk shell or T, and nude-for-you heels. A rich brown or appropriate orange could also work well.

    • Thanks so much, guys! I don’t know why I had such a mental block with this skirt. These are great suggestions (and I even bought a dusky rose silky shell *with* that skirt and didn’t think to pair them. Genius).

  12. Boston law jobs :

    I would love some advice. Can anyone give me advice on well regarded Big Law or smaller litigation boutiques that are good to work for, and particularly, if any of them have well regarded appellate practices? My partner just got an exciting new job in Boston. I have a great offer with a Big Law firm in another large city that is a short flight away from Boston. However, given my partner’s new job, I have decided to look for jobs in Boston as well and see what happens. I would be looking for a position in the fall, so I know that I’m very late to the game at this point. I’m currently a 3rd year associate, and I’m not admitted to practice in MA.

    I have absolutely no clue about the legal market in Boston. I’m a litigator and do mostly appellate work, and would love to stay in the appellate arena if at all possible (I have clerked on both the federal district and federal COA courts).

    At my current firm I spend a large part of my time writing briefs for cases in front of the state supreme court as well as the federal COA and even the US Supreme Court. Not sure if I’ll get that kind of experience in Boston. I would also be open to government jobs where I could actually litigate (do any of the DOJ agencies have a Boston office?). TIA!

    • former boston associate :

      Big firms in Boston don’t generally have thriving appellate practices like firms in D.C. In my experience at a big firm there, the only appellate work was working on the appeals of cases I had been on at the summary judgment/trial level.

      For big firms in general, the two biggest are Ropes & Gray and Wilmer Hale (formerly Hale and Dorr). Both are old line Boston firms, and are well regarded, but people I know there complain about all the usual big law things. Other big firms are Goodwin, Bingham, Mintz Levin, Choate, and others that I can’t remember off the top of my head. Also, some larger national firms have started opening Boston offices recently. I don’t know much about boutique firms. I think that Nancy Gertner’s (former D. Mass judge) old firm does some interesting plaintiffs side work. It’s called something like Silverglate Gertner & ??? I’m sure you can find it on google.

      So, in summary, there are lots of firms in Boston, the hours are slightly better than NYC, but they in general have all the ills of big law. I think you will struggle to fine somewhere with a dedicated appellate practice.

      • Boston law jobs :

        This is super helpful, thanks so much! I’m one of those lucky people who really likes my Big Law job and the work I do, so that’s why I’m hesitant to move at this point, but I want to keep my options open.

        • You might also look, for big firms, at the Foleys (Foley Hoag and Foley Lardner (?). Also consider firms that have smaller offices here in Boston but might have bigger appellate practices in NY or DC.

          There are also some very good mid-size firms in Boston, though I can’t name them all off the top of my head. I would suggest checking out the Boston Bar Association Litigation Section website, it will mention lots of firms in the area that you can then check out.

          Good luck!

      • This. Practiced in Boston for six years. Also, Boston is a pretty tough market in the best of times given the number of law schools in the city (Harvard, BU, BC, Northeastern,e tc. . .) and the relatively small size of the legal community so don’t take it personally if its hard to get interviews. I worked at one of the big two, and the hours were comparable to DC (where I was previously). Most firms don’t have distinct appellate practice but there are plenty of good litigation practices. I don’t think the fact that you haven’t taken the bar yet will matter, but you should assume you’ll be taking it in February, if you get a job that starts in the fall.

      • Don’t work at Bingham or Choate!

        • Boston law jobs :

          Thank you all! I appreciate the tips so much. Keep them coming, if anyone has other thoughts. :)

    • Have you considered applying to the USAO or SEC? The First Circuit does sit in Boston, so there are people from the USAO particularly doing appellate work. If you clerked for judges who are recognized outside of your district/circuit, that could help you break in. Boston IME is a very insular legal market because it really is a small town – but sometimes, to be crass about it, “prestige points” can help overcome lack of local connections if you’re seeking a government gig. (You probably don’t need to sit for the local bar either if you are working for Fed. agency.) Also, are you a third year with three years of law firm experience, or a third year with two clerkships and one year of law firm experience? If the latter, it may be easier to transition to a slightly different kind of practice, should geography trump practice area in your decisionmaking.

      • Boston law jobs :

        Thanks, bhtsmamma. I’m not crazy about working as an AUSA unless I can focus on appeals, and I doubt most offices would let attorneys get away with doing that. I haven’t thought about the SEC, it’s worth looking into. And in terms of my experience, I have two clerkships and 1 year of Big Law, so you’re certainly right that I could transition into a lot of different practices at this point. I wish I had a better idea of a certain industry I am interested in as opposed to something so broad as “appellate”. Torts/product liability has always interested me, but I don’t have any experience with it.

      • I don’t know about Boston, but in my city, there are Federal Public Defenders that focus only on appeals and habeas petitions.

  13. Coral blouse nude shoes or white blouse with a statement necklace and black or light brown shoes

  14. Love this dress! So pretty.

  15. Clueless summer associate :

    Ladies…how do you stop your skirt from wrinkling when sitting all day? Obviously they get ironed before work but after a subway ride – I’m already slightly wrinkled in the front portion (because the stomach/hip area folds up when I’m sitting). I’m thinking it’s because I have a big butt…so when I sit there’s nowhere for the front material to go so it just wrinkles up and those wrinkles stay when I stand up and walk around.

    • Before you sit, straighten your skirt and sit down on it. Big butt or not, if you ‘re wearing a work skirt, there should be enough room to sit on it. Don’t place your bag in your lap when you sit, as that may add to the creasing if your bag is med. to large.

      All that said, don’t worry about it too much — some wrinkling is inevitable. But, if I have a really important something in the morning, I just stand on the subway.

    • What’s your skirt made out of? Some fabrics wrinkle more than others. But your skirt is probably too small in the hips. The next time you go skirt shopping, size up, and then have the waist taken in.

    • Have you considered just wearing street clothes and then changing at the office? Given the heat in DC again here, I’m already starting to do this so I’m not a sweaty mess before I walk in the door…

  16. Glee Update…

    The concert was fun. They put on a good show. It was mostly Season 2 songs, plus Don’t Stop Believing, Jessie’s Girl, Single Ladies, and Safety Dance. I think they included Jessie’s Girl and Safety Dance so that each cast member, with the exception of Quinn, Sam, and Tina got a solo. The last 3 sang in duets.

    But, unlike the poster from DC yesterday, my audience was mostly skimpily-clad pre-teens and their moms. On the other hand, they weren’t very rowdy.

    And I gather that the cast was stunned by the audience size (biggest yet). The garden was sold out. Anyway, the seemed really pumped and excited so that really made it fun.

    • YAY! I’m going next week (ps I’m 27 lol) – I can’t wait!!!

    • Too bad your audience was mostly pre-teen but so glad it was a good show! Funny they didn’t give Tina a solo – I was so impressed with her recent rendition of “I Follow Rivers”. Couldn’t care less about Quinn though – I find her exceptionally annoying.

      OK, will *definitely* go next time they are in my neck of the woods.

      Gleek out. Now back to the professional world…

    • Haha, that poster was me. My brother is gay and I go to a particular gay bar with him that has a singalong night sometimes, and they always play a lot of Glee! It is a heck of a good time. I’m sorry you didn’t have as fun of a crowd in your town!

  17. Threadjack: How do you keep the willpower to make sure you don’t dress to the lowest common denominator? The temps are rising, and I have several sleeveless dresses that I consider appropriate only with a cardigan or blazer (length, cut and material are all otherwise appropriate, just straps are a little thin). The other women in my office rarely dress what I consider to be “professional.” There’s low-cut maxi dresses, mid-thigh jersey dresses, and 1″ straps on shirts. Part of me says that my dresses with 2″ wide straps are still more appropriate than the rest of the people in my office, but I don’t want my office to be my standard for professionalism.
    So… tips on how to stay strong in the face of the heat, when the rest of the office looks more beachy than officey?

    • This may seem a little ridiculous, but whenever I’m walking around in my work clothes in the heat of summer (in the South), I imagine what it must have been like to be a Southern Belle wearing full petticoats, hoop skirts, corset, beeswax makeup, etc…I feel instantly cooler by comparison. Seriously. Sounds loony, but I swear it works.

      Other than that, when I’m getting dressed in the morning, I think “what if the CEO walks into my office today for some reason?” and then dress accordingly.

      • The Southern Belle thing isn’t ridiculous! I often think the same thing, but about men today. Imagine what it’s like to be wearing a long-sleeve button-up, tie, and often a jacket! Ladies have the advantage in skirts and short-sleeve blouses. Then I think sure, I can deal. Even in stockings.

        • I do that, too. I imagine that if I’m warm, my husband in a suit and tie must be sweltering.

          I also always think “What if a client stops by today and the partner wants to introduce me? Will I be self-conscious about my outfit?”

      • Heh, there actually is a woman that does that in my (southern) town. She hands out flyers for some riverboat dinner cruise or something (and, to tell you the truth, she seems a little off- I sort of think that she started doing that first, then the riverboat decided to put her to work.) But she walks around downtown all day, in a full dress, with petticoats and the works, carrying a parasol, in the middle of July and August.

        • I went on a historic tour of Annapolis led by a woman in colonial attire. It was 85+ degrees, and she was wearing real woolen tights, two petticoats, and an apron in addition to her dress. She didn’t carry a water bottle, either. I would just have dropped dead if I were her.

    • Only wear the cardigans when you’re inside.

      Although honestly, at least in DC, many workplaces explicitly change their dress codes for the summer. When I lived in Las Vegas, the same was true. It is very hot. There is no reason why you should suffer unduly. There is nothing unprofessional about a sleeveless sheath in hot weather.

      At my law office in DC, it is absolutely the norm to wear linen, sandals, and sleeveless in the summer. I have even seen women in bermuda shorts and men in sandals and polos on very hot days. I wouldn’t wear summer attire to a client meeting, but you bet I’ll wear a long flowy skirt and a linen blouse to sit in my office alone when it’s 100 degrees outside.

    • willpower :

      OP here: Thanks for the suggestions :)

      Funny story about the Southern Belles… back in the day, I used to do Civil War re-enactments. I’d get dressed up in the hoop skirt, pantaloons, long-sleeves, the whole outfit, and trek around the dusty campgrounds in 100 degree heat. Good reminder that my knee-length skirt and 3/4 sleeve, light-weight cardi isn’t going to kill me :)

  18. Does anyone have a Built lunch tote? I need a recommendation. I am trying to decide which one to buy and I am shopping online (can’t find a store that sells them near me) so I can’t try them out in person. I am trying to chose between the Gourmet Getaway and the Gourmet Getaway Mini. It is hard to tell from the dimensions how much they really hold, and the pictures don’t show them packed. I carry my lunch bag inside my regular work tote, so I am concerned that the regular Gourmet Getaway will be huge and take up half the space in my work tote. However, I am also concerned that the Mini will turn out to be too small. I would consider the Tasty or Spicy Relish totes, if someone would recommend those over the two Gourmet Getaway styles.

    I typically carry a salad in one of those tupperware containers with a bubble-type lid that holds dressing inside, a piece of fruit, and a Greek yogurt cup. I would like all of these items to fit inside the lunch bag.

    So, to sum up, which Built bag do you think is the right size to hold what I need, without taking up more space than necessary in my work tote?


    • I have the regular Gourmet Getaway and I would say that it would take just a bit more space in your tote than the container you put in the Built bag – the material can fold nicely. I usually pack a container thats approximately 4 x 4,5 x 9 inch big and there is still a lot of remaining space. I don’t put it in a tote, though, but I’m very satisfied. You can also check this review:
      Hope any of this helps!

      • Thanks! Maybe I’ll go for the bigger one then if hte material crunches down.

        • somewherecold :

          The material definitely can be crushed. I have the Gourmet Getaway. I usually put about a quart-sized soup container, a sandwich, a few little containers with celery/pb/crackers, and a banana on top.

    • notyourkindofgirl :

      Built Lunch totes are generally fairly spacious. Plus, they are made out of stretchy neoprene, so they tend to be a bit forgiving if you over stuff them. I’ve had the Gourmet Gateway and the Tasty Lunch tote in the past – both were fully capable of fitting way more than I could possibly eat for lunch. Depending on the size of your salad container, I’d say the Tasty and the Gourmet Mini should both work.

      Also, they give dimensions, if you want to measure your usual tupperware/yogurt container size to make sure. The Gourmet Mini is W 11″ x H 10.25″ x D 6.5” and the Tasty is W 12″ x H 10.5″ x D 5.75″.

      • Thanks! It’s hard to tell from the dimensions how stuff will fit into it – I think the dimensions include the handles, and I can’t tell how much space the handles take up.

        • I’ve just measured the handles and it’s about 3.3 inches (I’m from Europe so the measuring tape is in cm…) from the zipper to the topmost part of the handles. This leaves you with approximately 8.3 inches of depth at this (highest) point.

    • I have this gourmet getaway tote:
      It fits easily in my tote bag and accommodates my usual breakfast and lunch: tupperware container, yogurt, fruit, a water bottle and other random snacks.

      • Thanks! I ended up buying that one, in the floral bloom pattern. I really appreciate everyone’s advice!

  19. I am really sick of my cheap blowdrier from target and ready to invest in a better one that will last. I have no clue what to get or what is a reasonable price range. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Whoops I meant to write blow dryer, of course.

    • Anonymous :

      MakeupAlley dot com has saved me hundreds of dollars when I have questions like this one.

      Product Reviews > Top Picks > (set filter for Tools >Hair Styling Tools)

      Looks like T3 Evolution is a good choice.


    • Babyliss! I randomly picked one up at TJMaxx when my old one died and it’s amazing. It actually blowdries my hair straight. I don’t even use my straightener anymore.

    • I have a Parlux hairdryer and am so-so happy with it. I know that a lot of women do the crappy dryer + ghd/chi iron combo, but I ended up spending money on the hair dryer and skimping on the flat iron and get better results this way. They seem to cost more in the US :( ($150ish on Amazon instead of 65€) but it is so much higher quality than a conair or vidal sassoon dryer. I’ve also heard good things about Babyliss but haven’t bought anything myself.

    • Mine is a Vidal Sassoon 1875W Fast Dry, with diffuser because I have curly hair. I love it so much I bought a second one to keep at my parents’ house for visits home, because it’s big and hard to travel with. At some point I decided I should get a fancier ionic dryer, and after a week or two I went back to my beloved Vidal Sassoon. It’s a great dryer and I think it cost me like $30. I have incredibly thick hair and I can dry it in under 10 minutes with this dryer. I have had it since at least 2003, possibly longer, and use it almost every day.

      • It is this one:

    • Thanks for these suggestions!

    • Solano Girl :

      My Solano died in February. I asked everyone here for suggestions in a late February post (which I cannot find — does the search function not search the comments?). I have very think and curly hair (mine was the post that raised the “Jewish hair” issue.

      After a LOT of research, I purchased the T3 at Nordstrom. After three uses, I admitted that it was not nearly as powerful as my RIP Solano, so I returned it and purchased the current version of my RIP Solano, which had served me for years and years. Here it is and I love it and am very happy with my decision: better machine, half the price:

  20. Why does the model look like her legs are off to the side of her body? If this is a photoshop error, fine, but I would be really concerned if I were turning my body and my dress didn’t go with me.

  21. anonymous :

    I agree that in male-dominated offices that take appearances seriously, it would be better to sober it up with a dark blazer.

  22. I was watching an old episode of The Good Wife on my DVR recently, and Christine Baranski’s character was wearing a pink version of this dress with a rose-colored blazer. It looked wonderful. (She always looks great.)

  23. I’d certainly wear this to a summer wedding, as a start:).

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