This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Workwear sales of note for 3.31.23:
- Ann Taylor – 30% off full-price tops and sweaters; up to 40% off all sale styles
- Athleta – All sale up to 60% off
- Banana Republic Factory – 50% off everything; extra 15% off purchase
- Boden – Up to 50% off; 20% off sale & new-season styles
- Brooks Brothers – Friends & Family Event: 30% off almost everything
- Express – All women’s jeans $49 + styles from $20
- Everlane – Up to 30% off spring essentials
- J.Crew – 40% off your purchase; swim from $24.50
- J.Crew Factory – 40% off entire site & storewide, plus extra 20% off orders $125+ with code
- Loft – $29 everyday shirts
- Sephora – Up to 50% off select beauty
- Talbots – Buy one get one 50% off! Free shipping on $150+
Some of our latest posts here at Corporette…
And some of our latest threadjacks here at Corporette (reader questions and commentary) — see more here!
- What are your favorite parts of a typical day?
- At what point in your life (age, income level, whatever) were you able to take an annual vacation?
- What shoes can I keep at the office to go for mid-day walks (that go with everything)?
- How do you release stress or trauma that’s stored in the body?
- What are the best “networking for women events” you’ve ever been to?
- I feel like we’re burning through any savings we acquire…
- I hate my job and make 30% of what DH makes – should I quit?
- What do you keep in your office?
I just don’t understand paying *so much* for a synthetic cardigan. I used to wear synthetic cardigans and the like through university when on a budget and looking for cheap fixes, but as I’ve transitioned to buying for a work wardrobe, I refuse to buy synthetic sweaters unless they are super cute/unique and ridiculously cheap. Otherwise, I try my best to by natural-fiber cardigans. So yes, no way I’d buy this.
Rayon is a cellulose derivative, so its technically semi-synthetic, not truly synthetic.
Honest question – open to everyone – why the preference for natural fibers? Or the dislike of “other than natural fibers”? Is it okay if there is some percentage of natural fiber in the fabric, but its not 100%? If so, what is the magic percentage for you?
I’ll admit that in the winter (or if I’m trying to stay warm), I prefer to have my sweaters/cardigans/warm layer have a percentage of wool or cashmere (or something similar). But I find that having some percentage of a synthetic fiber doesn’t hurt, may bring down the price, and sometimes makes the fabric different or even better, and more likely to wear it.
I tend to agree. I’ve certainly seen some cheap synths, but some are perfectly nice. To some degree, there’s nothing to match, say, cashmire (sp?), but on the whole, I’m going to go with how the garment actually looks and feels to me rather than the fabric content.
I find that natural fibres last longer. My experience is that they are more resilient generally, they don’t retain odors as much, and they bounce back from washing really well.
Another important consideration for me, particularly when it comes to animal fibres such as wool and alpaca, is supporting traditional industries that are suffering a great deal from large-scale production. A lot of farmers are losing their livelihoods because so many people are buying synthetics, and not only that, but heritage animal breeds that have been around for hundreds of years (or longer) are disappearing. I have a decent salary and want to use it to support these people (especially if they are local) and keep traditional industries going, rather than buying cheap and supporting the big box, multinational guys.
For me it’s less a preference for natural fibres so much as a dislike of most common synthetics. Rayon, viscose, etc. are fine, but most synthetics seem to be acrylic or a type of polyester. I find acrylic to break down ridiculously fast and look sloppy in just a few washes, so I always go for wool for sweaters (it’s warmer, too). I just can’t stand the feeling of polyester, it feels like wearing a garbage bag.
There are a few things for me: first, many synthetics don’t handle longterm wear as well – they can either get shiny, or their hand becomes quite crunchy, which is less of a problem with natural fibers. Second, synthetic fibers tend to have problems with smell – they absorb and hold on to moisture better than natural fibers (which is why they are used almost exclusively for technical clothing), but that also means they are breeding grounds for bacteria.
I prefer natural fibres. My magic number for tops/sweaters is at least 90% cotton or natural fibres. One reason is comfort – modal especially, but also other types of synthetics, just do not feel soft when I wear them, and are occasionally itchy. After washing they usually become more coarse.
The other reason is sweat absorbency. Synthetic sweaters worn next to the skin don’t absorb sweat and I feel myself start to smell a teeny bit (underarms) at the end of the day. If I do wear something synthetic I will make sure to wear a cotton cami or tee underneath (preferably covering the underarm area).
A percentage of a high quality synthetic can give you the best of the natural fiber and the best of the synthetic, usually easy care or stretch.
As for garments made entirely of man-made material, I sweat like I am wrapped in plastic in most. I actually have a physical allergic reaction to some polyesters (above and beyond profuse perspiration). And add the hormone factor and anything that doesn’t breath is a Very Bad Idea for me to wear to work.
Plus some (not all) synthetics just scream cheap – which is not an impression I want to give.
I like this! A great Spring colour and comfy to wear. A sleeveless woven shell top would look great underneath it too.
I always associate lurex with old lady church clothes. Isn’t it kind of shiny and metallic looking?
I like the coloring/styling suggestions, but think I’d have to find another turquoise cardigan.
Completely off-topic thought: The problem with a business casual office that also has Casual Fridays… is that too many people turn it into a Casual Wednesday and Thursday as well and then our office just looks sloppy, especially the support staff. And that’s my grumpy thought of the day.
Yes. It also drives me nuts that people think Casual Friday means they MUST wear jeans, not that they MAY wear jeans, if appropriate. I just cringe when I see folks – at all levels – walk into meetings with (or even walk around in front of) top execs or important clients wearing casual clothes.
Also, PSA to the junior support staff and interns: t-shirts are not Friday casual, they are weekend casual.
Cringe is the perfect word for it. It embarrasses me that the support staff have so much control over our small office that they know none of the partners will ever say anything to them about their dress code. Sketchers Shape-ups, jeans and an oversized knit sweatshirt aren’t okay, even if you are in your office most of the day.
and I would like to add that acid washed jeans are not office appropriate. Too tight jeans are not ever appropriate and torn jeans, no comment.
On other weekdays, non-blue jeans cannot pass as regular pants even if you put on a blazer.
(that felt good!)
I have never gotten over my interview experience at a top consultancy firm in which my male interviewer was wearing skin tight, acid-washed grey skinny jeans with an ‘equally’ tight tee shirt and more hair gel than a school-boy who had just raided his big brother’s closet – this all on the last day of the working week.
I hope that was in 1986.
I interviewed for my current job with my now-colleague wearing an off the shoulder top, visible bra straps, and skintight denim capris.
Her style hasn’t changed much in the intervening 5 years.
You mean these are not appropriate for work?
I tend to agree in terms of cringing, but to be honest, the support staff in my office makes a fraction of what I do and an even tinier fraction of what the partners I work for make. They also tend to have a crazy commute from the far outer boroughs (think Coney Island) or Long Island and snow throws them more than those who live in the UES. Other than my general cringe on occasion, I don’t care much about what they wear as long as they aren’t interacting with clients, which they rarely are.
surrounded by lawyers
I agree that it’s fair to consider the circumstances. When I was a paralegal, I dressed similarly to the associates, but almost every day I had to climb a shelf, carry heavy boxes, or sit on a floor somewhere. I ran around all the time. I did not make a good salary by any means. I often had bruises on my legs from work, and I had injuries from wearing heels for what was actually a pretty physical job.
I agree that some outfits are just unacceptable, but past a point, I think it’s unreasonable to expect someone to dress like a professional when they are not paid like a professional or treated like a professional.
It is entirely possible to dress in a professional manner for physical office labor. A button down top or cute top in t-shirt material, with khaki slacks or chinos and ballet flats look fine as long as they aren’t too tight or trendy in these circumstances. As for low pay, Goodwill and consignment shops have suits, slacks, and blazers. There may be good reasons not to have perfectly fitted clothes, or the latest styles, but there is never a reason to look sloppy.
I completely agree with this. In my job, I am often moving or unpacking boxes, setting up tables and chairs, crawling under tables to make sure that wires and cables are hooked up, and then presenting an hour later. I wear slacks with stretch, cute, professional tops (usually knit, as I am busty and button downs will gape during the more physical aspects of setting up a room), and nice flats most days.
I work for a government agency where the support staff are well paid and don’t have any worse of a commute than the rest of us, and they do see clients and senior execs. But in your situation, it sounds fair that they can be more casual. Still, nice slacks and a sweater is just as easy and affordable as jeans and a t-shirt.
I agree that the level of professionalism in dress should go down according to certain factors, but the expectation to look, at minimum, business casual is not unreasonable. Khakis, a sweater and a pair of supportive flat dress shoes are much more acceptable and hardly more inconvenient than jeans, a sweatshirt and tennis shoes.
Oh don’t get me wrong–I don’t think jeans are acceptable. We don’t have casual Fridays in my office but when there’s snow outside, I don’t care much if the support staff doesn’t bother to change out of snowboots. But I agree that jeans show a complete disregard. You can always change into slacks when you get to work if you’re worried about ruining them–I have the same concerns about the snow. I just don’t care if support staff dress is more casual than my own–as long as it’s clear they’re not just completely disregarding the fact that they work in an office (jeans, sweatshirts, etc). I’m also completely sympathetic about footwear as someone with foot problems myself.
I agree that support staff should not have to wear suits, or even be as dressy as I am on days when I do not have court – except for instances of meetings with important clients/ attending trial etc. I don’t think that at all. It’s just gotten out of control at our office lately with the jeans and tennis shoes.
I also wonder about those who show up in black yoga pants, thinking that you can’t tell they aren’t dress pants. In fact, yoga pants fit rather tight on certain places and you really can’t pass it off that you’ve worn black dress pants. A matching yoga hoodie does not substitute for a blazer or suit jacket!
Haha I used to wear black yoga pants when I worked in a supermarket. I haven’t been able to bring myself to wear them to class and they are reserved work working out now.
we just hired a new female to our company (99% male, consultancy). first time meeting her was at a retreat, dress code states business casual. she comes wearing back yoga pants and a very tight length sweater. this in a room with three directors (our management), and the WW VP.
On a related note, one of my coworkers is wearing a short-sleeve suit (similar to this style http://www.anneklein.com/Short-Sleeve-Pinstripe-Suit/90451948,default,pd.html?cgid=90411391&variantSizeClass=&variantColor=JJ1BBXX&ep_tag=AF200905, but light gray). It’s a lovely suit and the outfit would look completely professional and appropriate in the middle of the summer, but it looks odd when it’s below freezing outside.
Yeah, not so much for the cold weather, I agree. But, if she’s anything like me and is avoiding going to the dry cleaner like the plague, then maybe she was out out winter stuff. :)
Shoot. “out OF winter stuff”.
Lots of people dress for the indoor temperature rather than the outdoor- if your office is mid-70s in the winter and you have a warm winter coat, why wear a sweater that is going to make you feel hot inside? I have plenty of coworkers who wear short sleeves all year and just swap out the jacket.
It’s not. If anything, people complain that it’s too cold inside.
Eh, if your office is anything like mine, it’s a furnace. I’ve started wearing short sleeves just because it’s so hot and wearing a heavier jacket for my commute. I swear my building could save tons of money by turning down the heat 15 degrees and we’d all still be perfectly comfortable.
Alternatively, in the summer, a lot of offices are ridiculously cold. I usually take an extra cardigan in the summer. So really I never dress to match the outside weather.
I think it depends on where you are. But if you’re somewhere like NY or Chicago or Madison, WI, I think it looks silly to wear something that’s obviously “summer” when there’s snow outside. May be a different story if you’re in a more moderate winter climate like FL or AZ.
Incidentally, I feel the same way about people who wear obviously “spring” jackets in super pastel colors in the fall, or burnt orange trench coats in April. Everyone’s entitled to wear what they want, but I don’t think it’s a good look unless you possess a serious knack for mixing unexpected items to make them seasonally appropriate . . . which most people don’t.
I’m in NY ;-) But seriously, our office is like 90 degrees. If I don’t wear short sleeves, I have to open my window. It’s that bad that I’ll open my window when it’s 20 degrees outside. And I’m not the only one.
surrounded by lawyers
Unrelated: for spring I am looking for a pair of leather mid-calf boots, light colored (like gray or camel), non-work appropriate due to perhaps a couple of buckles or something else a bit clunky about them (but not too wild). They’d have a heel at maximum 3″. I will walk in them a lot. Any suggestions? So far I have struck out with Cole Haan, Zappos and J. Crew…
surrounded by lawyers
Thanks. I like that one, but I need at least some heel.
What about these?
Did you try Zappos and Endless? You can search for your particular criteria.
6pm is having a big boot sale today.
I bought 2 pairs this morning for $123 with tax & shipping. It’s random sizing, but maybe you’ll find something.
Try Sundance–they have a ton of spring-y boots right now.
Try Piperlime. My search on mid heel and tan didn’t rock me but there were a few gray boots that I thought looked nice.
Also try DSW, 6pm, and shoes.com. They all have some decent looking tan and gray boots. Of course finding the right shade, heel height and size it the challenge. HTH.
I have these in tan for the weekends and love them. Super-comfy too. Synthetic.
I don’t get this at all. I feel the color is washed out. The buttons are not even cute, just cheap plastic and look like they would not keep this closed appropriately. The thick band at the bottom and cuffs make it look like weekend wear with jeans. And the price is absolutely ridiculous.
Question. I recently received an email and resume from a young man whom I met at a professional event. He’s looking for a job. In his email and in the subject line of his email, however, he got the name of my organization wrong, in a way that indicates he doesn’t even know what kind of organization we are – think Environmental Protection Association, instead of Environmental Protection Agency. I’m inclined to just delete his email, because this pretty much indicates that he doesn’t do any research at all and that he pays no attention to detail (actually it’s hardly a detail) – the professional event I met him at was one at which a speaker had made a presentation about my organization and a lot of literature on my organization was available.
Am I being too harsh? Would you all ding someone for a mistake like this?
I think I would feel the same way as you. It is really tough out there, and everyone knows that. It seems like such circumstance would spur people to make sure that everything they send to a potential employer is perfect.
I know it seems kind of harsh, but when you can be picky about whom you hire, it only makes sense that you would not go for the person who neglects important things like the organization’s name.
No and yes. I am willing to overlook some email errors because it is a more casual medium – but getting the name of the organization for which you are applying wrong?
Maybe he had memorized the name of the company this way for a long period of time. Sometimes, even when you know the name of a company you keep spelling it wrong or saying it wrong.
If it normally goes by an abbreviation, that could also be the issue. Sometimes people will know the abbreviation of an organization and what it does, but may mess up the name of the words in the abbreviation. I know it’s happened to me in the past, although in a more casual situation. There’s one organization here that’s abbreviated in a way where I often mix two letters up as they sound similar.
I’d treat it as a presumptive reason for rejection, but if the content of the e-mail showed real interest in and knowledge about your organization, I might be willing to overlook it as a panicked mistake (especially if he used the organization’s name correctly in the body of the e-mail).
Incidentally, I have one client where I’m continually petrified that I’ll slip up and say “Authority” instead of “Agency” when I have to spell out its acronym (which we hardly ever do around the office). It hasn’t happened yet but I’m convinced that it will at the worst possible moment. So that might make me slightly more sympathetic.
Definite ding. We all make mistakes, but certain situations, like job hunting or client projects/interactions, call for extra care. The fact that he didn’t take that time in the job hunt situation gives you ample justification for concern that he does not in other situations as well. We regularly ding potential candidates for things like that, for poorly written cover letters, etc.
Maybe I am just getting old, but I am starting to see this a lot these days with the younger folks (analysts) we interview, and sometimes hire. The thing that drives me batty is when you then take the time to explain why what they did was not correct, or where the lack of attention to detail/follow-through led to issues, and you get this kind of blank look and “oh, ok”. There’s no lightbulb clicking on there. I find myself wondering why I even need to explain what should have been absolutely obvious, knowing it never would have occurred to me at that age not to take that extra step. Like I said, getting old and crotchety….
I have responded with “okay” before to a similar critcism. The mistake was made already, there was nothing I could due to change that. I apologized for the mistake and said I was glad the superior caught it before it went out the door. I later heard the superior thought I hadn’t taken it seriously enough. What reaction would you prefer to receive when you point out a mistake?
“Oh, I understand. I won’t make that mistake again. Thanks for pointing it out; I appreciate your advice.”
I wonder the same as well. Obviously no one likes to have made a mistake, but apart from saying “Okay, I’m sorry, it won’t happen again,” what more can you say?
Should I be visibly upset or apologize profusely? I think that would make me look unprofessional and like someone who isn’t able to handle criticism.
I know what you mean — women already apologize too much. But then others (mostly men) expect it from us too.
Apologizing profusely and just saying “okay” are way different. I think the person just wants some indication that you’ll try your best not to let it happen again. (Along the lines of what Eponine suggested)
I second Eponine.
“Wow, that was a big mistake. Thanks for telling me. I’ll know now to pay closer attention. ”
Similar to Eponine’s response.
^This. He gets a virtual forehead smack for making the mistake. But if he’s otherwise qualified and interested, knows what the agency/authority/association does, and has otherwise done his research, then maybe you can overlook it through the interview? If he then proceeds to blow it in the interview, however…
FWIW, my brain sometimes goes into French mode, and if an acronym has a beginning A, I immediately try and figure out the name starting with “Association of…” Unfortunately, I’m usually very confused before I realize what I’ve done. :-)
Maybe he just made a mistake and after sending it he did that whole, “Crud I’m a moron” thing.
Listen, is it understandable if you ding someone for this? Yes. But do you ever make a typo like that and maybe should give the kid a second chance? It’s up to you. He went to the event, obviously he knew what the organization was, it’s not like he simply resume blasted you and 300 other employers without even mentioning your organization. I’d give him a chance.
I agree with this comment – I understand that it’s so competitive that it’s sort of expected you’ll be harsh about a mistake like this. But I don’t think it’s necessarily worth it to reject him out of hand for not being perfect. Does his resume and the rest of his email to you balance out the one mistake, or is it sloppy or unimpressive? When you met him, did he come across as sincere, conscientious, thoughtful, or just sort of assembly line networking with everyone at the event?
I think in your response you can also put a sentence clarifying the name/role of your agency – i.e., Thanks for your interest etc etc — I should point out that we are the EP Agency, not the EP Association, which means XXX and YYY about our role and responsibilities.
As someone who commented yesterday that a partner shouldn’t talk to an associate about a single typo on an internal email, it may surprise some to hear me say that I think it’s completely fair to not pass this resume on. I only pass on candidates that I feel I can vouch for–your recommendation needs to mean something and if you pass on random people who have made less than stellar impressions, you risk hurting the strength of your recommendation when you do find someone worth promoting to others.
Thanks, all. I think I’ll just forward it to our recruiter without comment. She can decide if she cares about the typo.
You’re not. The job market is crummy, but that’s no excuse for not performing a bit of due diligence (I think I’m using that phrase correctly…). In facts, I would be even more detail-oriented given the current state of the economy.
*in FACT. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. ***blushes*** =)
I once had someone call for an informational interview (but of the sort where it was clear that she was really hoping we’d want to hire her), and when she began talking to me, it was apparent that she thought I lived in a completely different city (and not one where the confusion was excusable – think New York vs. Houston).
I’m pretty tough when it comes to job applicants, because I feel like that’s the highest-stakes moment. If they can’t perform then, when can they?
I think that’s a bit harsh, but that opinion may be influenced by your example. Sicking with your example, If he had used Energy PA instead of Environmental, I see your point. More to the point, how was your itneraction with him at the event? Did you think he had interest/energy/promise? If you met and talked with him at the event enough that he was encouraged to reach out to you directly, could you respond to the e-mail to say something like “I remember you from the conference but was disappointed to see that you got the name of my organization wrong, which suggests that you don’t really have a grasp of what we do. I would like to give you a chance to explain the mistake…” or something like that to put the responsibility on him to provide an explanation that you can use to get a better feel for credibility and sincerety?
Most potentialy employers immediately delete that kind of an email.
However, since you have met this person, my answer to your question question are, it depends.
If this is a young, inexperienced person, I would be inclined to put on my mentor hat and reply with some constructive criticism.
But if your gut tells you this person is not worth it, then definitely go with your gut. That’s not harsh, that’s decisive.
Ignore my typos, please. I need to get back to work, obviously.
Tonight, I am going to this cocktail/press conference held by my company at the most upscale hotel in the city. The least I can say is that I am intimidated. The event itself is only 90 minutes and there will be mostly management and journalists and fans. I am not worried about the event itself since I will be passive, the venue is what makes me nervous.
I have a LBD, 3-4 lace sleeve and high neckline. I plan to wear it with black pattern hose and black suede peeptoes.
I know this is a lot of black but compared to my previous attempts, this is an upgrade.
I do not have jewelry, I only have a dark brown clutch and I do not have a classy coat.
– Can I wear just my tiny (faux) pearl studs and no necklace, no watch no nothing?
– I only have a tailored down coat which is not very puffy, can I get into the hotel wearing that and then take it off at coat register or would it be better to leave it in a friend’s car before even I step into the building. It will be chilly, but if the down coat is a no-no, I am willing to walk the 2 minutes outside.
– Is it OK to wear my brown clutch (LV damier ebène) with an all black outfit or should I go clutch-less, or buy a cheap one from Aldo?
I think I would rather get a cheapo black clutch or a bright colored one (red, yellow, turquoise, purple, pink, some fun color). I actually might prefer the colored one to add a pop of color to your outfit. :)
Your earrings, coat and outfit sound fine! Just leave the coat at the coat check. :)
Thoughts on the clutch – Aldo does have good options, or if you have an H&M nearby, that could be a good place – or Ross, Filene’s, even Payless. I’d try silver, pewter, or gold, which is a dressy neutral that should be versatile for future events.
Unfortunately, in my country I only managed to find Aldo and a French brand called MOA… and we don’t really have sales.
I will buy a small gold clutch and if I find something affordable, maybe a layered costume jewelry necklace.
Thanks for the ideas! I feel more confident spending 20 or 30 dollars to upgrade my outfit.
An LV damier ebène clutch is fine with black or any other color.
I would say to buy a new clutch only if you feel uncomfortable going to the event with something so obviously LV.
You can probably get away with no jewelry, too — there’s a big minimalist trend when it comes to jewelry that seems to be happening (e.g., Angelina Jolie at Golden Globes, etc.). Just do whatever you do with intention, and you’ll be fine.
As for the coat, I think you can wear it inside. Or if you have a shawl, bring that.
I think with lace detail on the dress and patterned tights, you don’t need much in the way of jewelry. I also think the LV clutch would look great with black. Your outfit sounds perfect as is!
I got a $5 black clutch that is perfect from Claire’s on the clearance section. I’m pretty sure the original price of the clutch was $12, so I would check them out. For $15 you can look MUCH better than the brown clutch.
houda, your outfit sounds quite nice for this event. Basic black with simple pearl earrings at a cocktail party is almost like a uniform; appropriate and discreet. I agree that a simple metallic clutch or handbag would be a nice addition, and something you could use in the future.
Best of luck!
This is indeed cute and springy, but I would think you should be able to get something basically the same for $29, not $129. (But I typically take a lot of Kat’s suggestions as “something like this would be cute and work-appropriate” instead of “yes, I will now buy exactly this item,” if only because of my own budgetary constraints.)
I agree! I looked at this and thought — I’m ready for an injection of spring color and a cardigan would be a great way to do it. Also, as a fair haired pale person I look great in this color (if I do say so myself) and currently don’t have it in my wardrobe. So I’m thinking of keeping an eye out for something like this. I always take Kat’s suggestions as jumping off points.
I recently bought the Talbots Military Coat on Sale and promised to review it when I recieved it.
I am in LOVE with this jacket. The blue is to die for. It’s warm, the length is perfect, and it’s just sooo classy looking. For those who may be interseted, I scream GREEN LIGHT, GO!!!
FYI: I am in between an 8 and a 10 in size. I ordered an 8 and it’s perfect. In fact, if you want your coats really fitted it may be too big for you even if you size down. However, I’m in snowy, cold NYC and so I like my winter coats to accomodate sweaters or blazers underneath.
Also, as an FYI it is long and cut long so if you are short it may require some tailoring. I’m 5’8″ and have long arms resulting in me buying 8Ts in jackets from other brands (For ex. J. Crew). This jacket has the most perfect long arms. So if like me you have a hard time finding winter coats with long arms, this jacket is perfect.
I do not need another winter coat but your review is really tempting me, especially since it sounds like we are a similar size.
So happy it worked out for you! It’s a beautiful coat.
I have long arms as well and it can make coat/shirt/sweater shopping such a pain. I’m sure you know this already, but on the off chance you don’t, you can have coat sleeves let out. I’ve had this done on a few coats (wool and trench) and it’s amazing the difference that an inch makes. It’s about $20 or so where I have it done, and it’s always been worth it.
I thought that there is a general perception that pastel colors like this are old lady? I love the turquoise blues, baby blues, sea greens, etc., but always pass because I don’t want to look like a grandmother.
I think the prohibition against paler colors applies to suits and blazers, not sweaters. This turquoise blue is considered one of the top colors in many designer’s Spring 2011 lines. Search on “Pantone Spring 2011 colors” to see them all, if you’re into that sort of thing.
As many here have said before, you should wear colors that look good on you and make you happy, and not worry about what’s in or out. If your grandmother wore turquoise, you may never be able to wear it without feeling “matronly.”
Also pastel colors and light brights tend to be flattering to people with white or grey hair. The light reflected shining up on the face is flattering.
That doesn’t mean that they are ‘old lady’ colors. That just means that the older woman knows what looks good on her!
So: choose colors that flatter YOU. Don’t worry so much about what the current style mavens tell you is in. Just because it is ‘in’ doesn’t mean it’s going to do much for you. If you really need help and don’t have an eye for color, look around you for women whose styles you admire and whose coloring is similar to yours. Look at what colors make them POP. Then go try that on yourself in good lighting and see if it makes you do the same.
I have also constantly read that pastel suits are verbotten, that make you look too girly and weak.
Then can someone please explain why so many politicians wear them?
Hmmm, maybe they’re hoping to look feminine and approachable to voters rather than harsh and authoritarian? And, in that case, pastels can help your image. In certain cases, lighter colors are ‘youthening’. Again, for certain skin-tones, that light reflecting up on the face is more flattering. So I’d guess, the approachable, possibly motherly/grandmotherly, yet still attractive vibe is intended?
Note: This can be a very cultural thing too. In some cases, women over a certain age seem to be relegated to black or other dark colors, I think.
OT not quite a rant, rant: You know how guys just don’t get colors beyond the elementary school level?
Well, among my wonderful husband’s many delightful traits, he is an excellent iron-er. He’s meticulous and neat, and things he irons always look super professional. (unlike me, who tends to make ironed clothing look worse rather than better). So, I’m preping for this major oral argument today, and I was working late yesterday and sent him a text asking if he wouldn’t mind ironing my charcoal suit and white shirt for arguments. He didn’t respond, so I assumed that he’d get it if he had a chance, but not to worry about it (it’s not like he had to or I’d be mad.)
Well, he did iron- my *light* gray suit and my *other* white shirt (the one that someone gave me and it’s not very nice but not really un-nice enough to get rid of). When I pointed out that I had said “charcoal”, he couldn’t understand how that didn’t just mean “gray.”
He’s still cute, though. :)
A friend of mine took her new husband shopping for clothes. At that point everything he owned was either navy or white. She pulled out a blue t-shirt with a white stripe and said “What about this?” He said “Are you sure it’s not too colorful?”.
On the other hand, my BF wears deep pink or bright orange polo shirts with no qualms whatsoever. His comment: “I am confident enough in my masculinity to not have to prove it.” Hah! Too funny. (And no, no worries about him playing for both teams.)
Haha, yes. Sometimes I will ask my sig other to grab something for me off the laundry drying rack if I am upstairs getting ready, and he is still downstairs. I have this one purple/pink shirt with ribbon trim on the collar that I will ask him for, and he will come upstairs with every shirt from the drying rack but the one I want. When I show him which one I mean, he says, “Oh, the brown one?” Now I will ask him for the purple shirt, but quickly correct myself to “the one I always ask you for that has the weird color.” And yes on the still cute.
My husband and I recently had a surprising disagreement about whether his ancient fleece jacket is green (me) or gray (him). To me, this was not even a close call. It’s just green.
My dh is terribly color blind … truly. We end up calling my clothes and his by the words he uses. As in, beige or off white he calls “yellow.” Purple and blues are difficult for him to distinguish upon so when he remarks on something, I translate in my head…actually when dating, he complimented my grey dress and it was a lilac … that’s how I found out! Only recently did I find out that all my black with burgundy outfits looked all black to him. And I have never worn pastels and don’t still because they all look grey to him.
So if your SO have different words/names for colors, go with the flow.
As a side benefit, my DH is great at matching paint of all colors as he says he doesn’t have distractions of tones. We’ve relied on his eyes for >25 years now.
It’s an odd thing, as I still I have to find the orange extension cord in the lawn for him…
Best wishes with the coming storms in the NE gals.
Anyone have ideas on what to wear casually to a superbowl thing? I have no, repeat no, jeans…and I am old enough not to need to buy a pair as the fly is always far too short. Treat it as business casual? Avoid the team colors, of course. Thanks.
I think a pair of pants with a decent (ie not sweatshirt) top or sweater would be good. There is no need for jeans, but imagine what you might pair with jeans, like a chunky sweater or long cardigan.
Leggings and a jersey or sweatshirt should be fine if you’re not a jeans person.
I just can’t get over the fact that your husband irons!
My DBF is also our designated iron-er! :-)
my dad irons. and does the laundry. and does the dishes.
no wonder i’m single…
When my dad and mom first got married, my dad asked my mom why something wasn’t ironed. Her response was, “you didn’t iron it.” From then on, our household only contained wrinkle-free shirts. Neither my husband nor I knows how to iron. If I need to get the wrinkles out of something, I hang it in the shower for a while.
my BF’s partially color blind (though honestly, I haven’t figured out which colors because he seems to be able to tell the difference pretty well on most things) and can’t tell the difference between his light grey suit and dark grey suit. He actually had to label them. I found this extremely odd because they’re incredibly different shades of grey and I thought even completely color-blind could still see varying shades, just not the colors. Black, dark purples, and dark blues are frequently confused as well, though in fairness even I have trouble telling dark blue from black sometimes
There are several different types of color blindness. My dad’s colorblindness sounds a little like your BF’s – my dad has trouble differentiating between different shades of the same color or other similar colors. His biggest problem is with pastels – they all look off-white to him.
I remember one weekend when I was home from lawschool, my dad showing me some clothes he bought recently. He pulls out a short-sleeved tone-on-tone striped button down shirt. I look at it and ask him what on earth possessed him to buy a (pale) pink shirt. He looked at it with surprise and said he thought it was off-white. For the record, my dad is in his late 50’s, very heavy set, and ex-military. He does NOT wear pink.
Does anyone have a favortie Etsy jewelry artist? I’ve been cleaning out our guest room to get it ready for baby girl and “found” my headband/tiara from my wedding. Instead of boxing it up with the thought that baby girl would wear it (I don’t really care one way or the other), I’m thinking maybe someone could make it into a necklace or bracelet. It has beads and seed pearls attached to a comb. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
Unrelated, I remember you said you’re due friday. So just wanted to say that I’ll pray for you to have a smooth delivery and enjoy every moment of this new addition to your family.
Good luck mama angie :)
That’s so sweet! My best wishes as well! What an exciting time
Yes, good luck to you!! Do post and let us know how the delivery goes once you get a moment. Hope you will still have time to look in on us. :)
Yes, congrats! I have bought some things from Etsy, but can’t point you to a particular seller. If you don’t get any particular suggestions, you can try the Alchemy feature that allows you to request bids on the project; you can then view the stores of those that offer to see who is most in your taste. Alternatively, I have had good luck in the past messaging a seller whose work I generally like with “By any chance, do you do special orders? I am looking for [something similar to what’s in your shop, but different in this way].”
I really like the etsy seller Gosia whom someone recommended on this site, but I haven’t actually bought from her – just stalked several of her items and wished I needed more jewelry.
I like this jewelry maker: http://www.etsy.com/shop/darleenmeier
Thanks for all the good thoughts – if you don’t see me for awhile, you’ll know why! :))) I am SOOOOO looking forward to actually being able to buy/wear non-stretchy clothes and heels, even if it’s not right away.
Threadjack: I have an “informal interview” with someone that I hope to have a formal interview with in a few weeks (it’s for a job at a place where I worked a few years ago–hence the pre-interview chat). He’s made it clear that this is informal several times, which I take to mean “don’t wear a suit.” Any tips for how to dress my most lawyerly/professionally without looking like I’m breaking this “informal” idea that he’s repeatedly mentioned? Slacks and a blazer work? For what it’s worth, I’m taking the train immediately following the interview and he knows this (so maybe even more of a thumb on the scale of casual wear). All that said, he thinks I’m in the city for work (rather than making this trip just for the informal interview) so I could possibly get away with a suit.
I know, I’m overthinking this. It’s for a non-governmental organization, if that changes your answers any. Thanks!
If you worked there a few years ago, you should know what the office dress is. I would be on the more formal/professional end of the spectrum of what people typically wear in that office, or just wear a suit that you can dress down a bit (because of its style, your accessories), as people have suggested here before in this kind of situation.
I would also be a little careful of interpreting “informal” to mean “don’t wear a suit,” especially coming from a man, unless you know him and have some other reason to think that’s what it means.
Also consider the venue of the meeting:
are you going to meet at the office so there is a risk your former/future coworkers would see you ?
or are you going to meet in a casual place over coffee?
it makes a big difference.
I think it depends on what city you’re in. From experience: SF and DC –> suit. LA –> very polished separates (suit skirt, cardigan, etc.) Gauge where your city falls, and go from there.
Does he think you’re coming from work? I think you can’t go wrong with a super simple, conservative pantsuit (I’m picturing black or dark grey, with a cream shell underneath, and pearl earrings). My guess is that by “informal” he’s emphasizing that this meeting is outside the scope of the recruitment process and doesn’t want you to think otherwise.
All fair points. It’s tricky b/c he’s British and just starting a job in the DC office whereas I worked in the NY office. We’re going to be having coffee somewhere and I won’t be coming into the office. Dress in that office is more slacks and a nice top than a suit.
Maybe I wear a pant suit and make a passing comment that I had a meeting for work, which is why I came down to DC for the day.
Is the insistence on PERFECT grammar and spelling in e-mail, resumes, etc. a generational thing? I am just over 40 and I really don’t allow for a margin of error in e-mail communications (or any other written work product). A single mistake on a resume means it goes in the shredder, because it tells me someone doesn’t proofread or pay attention to detail. A grammatical mistake in an e-mail from outside counsel wouldn’t result in immediate termination, but I will remember it, and it will factor in when I am deciding where to send the next case. I can and do call in subordinates to correct grammatical errors (you’re v. your, its v. it’s).
I see no reason to let up on this. Is it all that harsh? Is it generational?
I’m 30, and I feel the same way.
I’m not sure if it’s generational, but I don’t think it’s overly harsh (speaking from the perspective as someone in the legal field). A comment made by a judge at a moot court competition really sticks with me in these situations. He was correcting one of the competitors (not me, thankfully) for her repeated mispronounciation of a word and said, “You’re going to be a lawyer, so you will fight with words. The pronounciation of this one may seem unimportant, but using words properly can determine whether we win or lose.”
I know that’s different from making a typo in one email, but getting all my “words” in order before sending something out of my office has become one of my major goals.
In law school, the woman who won the moot court competition repeatedly mispronounced a key word throughout her argument. I corrected her consistently when we were practicing, but she assured me her pronunciation, correct or incorrect, just sounded more authoritative. It made me crazy when she won, despite knowingly mispronouncing that word. Of course, she was very attractive and the judges were fellow students. ;-)
Wow, what word? That’s fascinating.
I’m not sure if it’s generational so much as the fact that written communication has become a lot more informal in the past ten to fifteen years. We email and text all day long now. In the past, written work was much more formal (letters, faxes, etc.), which may be why it was proofread more carefully.
Also, I think lawyers are stretched more thinly than in years past. I agree that good grammar is important, but I also think mistakes happen when clients’ expectations are unrealistic. Given the fact that your lawyers are probably putting in 14-16 hour days and emailing you from blackberries while out on dates, I’d lighten up a bit.
That is an excellent point. I just sent an email to my boss and just realized that it had a typo. I absolutely hate grammar mistakes so I’m annoyed that I did that. However, given how many emails we send in a day (and how quickly we often write them), these sorts of mistakes are easier to make. However, as a general practice, it’s always good to read and re-read anything before sending it.
Late 30-ish here, and I also feel the same way. And, I’m probably too hard on juniors and support staff who repeatedly make such mistakes in draft pleadings or client letters. Signed, Not Popular
I’m 25 and if it is a draft, then it’s a draft for a reason; to pick up mistakes and edit. If it is something that is going to the court, another attorney, or a client, it should be perfect! You may be hard on others, but not too hard! They are representing you and your law firm, and letters/pleadings/etc should meet your expectations.
I think times are changing. I have some coworkers who have to respond to 100+ emails per day on top of other tasks, and I think it’s unreasonable to expect that people will be diligently proofreading every internal email in that instance. The expectation with email tends to be that people will respond fairly quickly, and that will necessarily bring about some changes in the quality of the work.
I am honestly glad I don’t work for or with many of the people who have been expressing their absolute intolerance for mistakes, especially in something like an email response, where someone might be typing on a phone or in a rush and therefore may easily make a mistake.
If this is the kind of thing people get their knickers in a knot about, I feel sorry for them. It must be very wearing and tiresome to grind your teeth over every little mistake everyone else makes, and I doubt it’s any kind of path to happiness. Although I am sure the soaring feelings of smug superiority are probably some kind of pale compensation. Anyway. I do want people to know, there are many of us out in the world who are not going to gleefully delete important emails just because they have a tiny typo in them. Life’s too short to make things like that into a big deal.
Agreed: if it’s work that’s going out (resume, marketing copy, legal documents etc) then it must be perfect. If it’s internal – who cares? I mean, one should still keep as high a standard as possible so as not to look incompetent, but at the end of the day, internal emails are not what makes money for any company, so spending too much time proofreading them is just not a good use of time.
I would get annoyed with a habitual poor speller, but don’t see the problem with an occasional typo.
As a member of the generation that would make these mistakes, I don’t think you’re being harsh. Although, from what I understand, the grammatical rules have changed a bit in the recent past, and the proper grammar that I was taught may not be the proper grammar you were taught. Things like comma placement, capitalization, etc. Tenses are still the same – you shouldn’t mess up conjugation; and you shouldn’t write an e-mail like you would type out a texto. But please don’t shred my resume because I put a comma before an “and” in a series – I was honestly taught that everyone likes it differently and it doesn’t really matter how you do it, just be consistent. It’s the same with “e-mail” and “email.” And I was taught this by nuns AND legal writing professors.
Also, the grammar used to type out e-mails is not the same as what I would use in a legal brief. E-mails are a bit less formal – still correct, but less formal. If I make a small typo in my e-mail, chances are I won’t make the same typo in a letter or a brief.
However, messing up you’re and your and its and it’s are still fair game, IMO.
Thank you for raising the very important point about grammar rules changing over time.
My consultancy works with many government agencies who still use very outdated rules. We use their rules to keep them happy. But I inwardly cringe when I have to create deliverables using grammar that has been incorrect since the 80’s or 90’s.
Therefore, I have to wonder how many resumes get tossed because of an adherence to outdated rules.
I think there are instances where you should lighten up, yes. I don’t consider proofreading an internal email a productive use of time when there is a lot of work to be done, for instance. And the expectation of perfection can lead people to slow down in general and be a lot more thoughtful about things that don’t actually require that level of thought. I was taught by a superior early on that not everything requires an “A effort” and it’s the people who know when an A effort is required and when a B effort is sufficient who are most successful in our workplace.
That is such great career advice.
I don’t know. Email is a much more casual form of communication than a formal letter or a resume. It’s much more efficient, and I think there is a higher margin of error in email because you’re typing quickly and trying to communicate quickly. I think of it more like conversation – I’d ding someone who’s consistently not well spoken and uses poor grammar, but I wouldn’t ding someone who mixed her metaphors or used a double negative every now and again.
I completely agree about resumes and actual work product, though. Resumes should be perfect, and work product should be of very high quality, allowing for the fact that sometimes people have to produce documents under extreme time pressure and may not have time to proofread.
I am 29, and I think there is no excuse for grammar or spelling mistakes in e-mail, text message, tweet, or whatever. (Ok, maybe on Twitter since you’re limited to 140 characters. But, still, anyone who want to be president or the like, should never wite “u” instead of “you,” or “h8” instead of “hate.”)
That said, some level of formality does have to be dropped in e-mail. For instance, greetings and complete sentences do not always make sense when you are e-mailing back and forth with someone. For instance, “Dear Allison, I received the file you just sent. Thanks, AIMS” doesn’t really seem appropriate when a simple “Got it!” will do. In such cases, I err on the side of not making the other person feel uncomfortable or think that I am odd. All rules need to be tailored to the situations in which we are going to use them.
Several years ago I worked with a local counsel in another state whose overly formal emails actually made me a bit crazy. To the point that an email requiring a simple “Got it!” or “Thanks” came back with a much lengthier response with a formal closing and signature. Every time!
I’m annoyed by grammatical errors and typos (and anyone who works on a brief with me knows I’m religious about the stupid blue book) but all errors are not equal. I’ve actually seen a suprising number of partners (never associates) with an automatic signature line on their blackberry/iphone that reads “Please forgive any errors as this message is being sent from my blackberry” or something to that effect. If it is the first email you ever received from the junior – expect more formality. If the mistake is made when you are requiring a quick turn around – lighten up a bit and if the mistakes are persistent or if the mistakes are also in memos and briefs and more important communications, definitely have a conversation about attention to detail.
Oh, the irony of the typo in the last sentence of your first paragraph :).
There are also unnecessary commas after “like” and “you” (and arguably “but”).
My fiance is a COO of a finance firm, and also a lawyer. His firm has a couple of Biglaw firms on retainer.
He makes a point of telling these Biglaw lawyers that “there better be typos in your emails because I’m not paying for you to proofread that!”
Besides being funny, I do see his point. Documents must be proofread, substantive details should be right, etc., but a rational person knows where to draw the line.
That said, I always proofread my emails:)
Yeah at $350 an hour for junior lawyers, I’d hate to pay for careful proofreading (meaning beyond a quick once over) for emails. 20 minutes can run you $125!
Agreed. I was an editor before I became a lawyer, and I’m generally good about proofing emails both internally and to clients, but at 3 in the morning or during a closing or when I’m trying to respond quickly on a Blackberry during a meeting, there might be mistakes. I’m okay with that, and my clients still seem happy and willing to work with me. I do deal directly with business people for the most part, though, and not so much with in-house attorneys. The business folks are much more focused on the bottom line and are usually prone to more typos and word errors than I am!
I should expand my comment to add this: I also don’t think it’s generational, because I VERY regularly get misspelled emails, emails with grammatical errors (you’re/your, doc’s/docs), and emails that use chatspeak (“RU coming to the meeting?”) from partners in their 40s and 50s.
Agree with this. Worst offender at my office is a senior guy who is nearly 50 and regularly sends twitter-like responses to emails (e.g., “shud wego 4 it”) with no punctuation that sometimes need to be decoded by 2-3 people.
He also likes to respond to lengthy messages with the letter “y” which sometimes means “yes” and sometimes means “why?” even when the original message doesn’t seems to be asking a question or making a recommendation. That is the worst!
Oh, no. I’ve worked for this guy, too!
My mother, a physician born in 1955, does this when she texts and emails. It drives me (and my father) crazy.
I HATE using the “y”! It’s so frustrating that it can mean either “why” or “yes.”
Could the generational gap her be due to the fact that older men may not type as fast as we do? (Or type on their mobile keyboards?)
I am a stickler, too, but don’t have a zero tolerance policy because I’m reluctant to punish someone for a mistake that so many people make. For example, the misuse of “hopefully,” split infinitives, passive voice, and the rampant use of “their” in an attempt to be gender neutral drive me insane but I realize that so many make these same mistakes that I am reluctant to judge too harshly.
Passive voice makes me crazy! I lecture every new associate I ever work with about this because for whatever reason they all come out of law school thinking legal memos should be passive.
I think some of those rules are changing too. “Their” as gender neutral is widely accepted and I don’t think people focus on split infinitives. The latter issue is a strange one as not all languages even have two-word infinitives, so one wonders why the rule developed in the first place.
I was taught that split infinitives are fine. Using “their” as a gender neutral pronoun is still not grammatically correct, as far as I can tell, even if a lot of people do it. That’s my their/there/they’re.
Facebook does it!
My Ivy League Shakespeare professor (a straight guy) also used “their/them/they” as a singular gender-neutral pronoun, and he requested that we do so in our writing for his class. He conceded that it wasn’t ideal, but he said that it was better than defaulting as M/F, or using the cumbersome “his or hers/him or her/he or she” in every sentence.
Mellie, I agree that the he/she or whatever is awkward. If I put some thought into it, I can almost always rearrange the sentence to avoid using “their” or “she or he.”
On second thought, I do not write about literature. I can see how it would be extremely difficult to rearrange all of your sentences in a paper where you’re talking about characters, especially for a class full of undergraduates (I assume you were talkiing about an undergrad class).
S. Laurel West
We argue this one at work, too. And we agree, that “their” it is incorrect. That said, we consider the audience and usage of our message and let that be our guide.
Using “they” as a singular indeterminate gender pronoun isn’t even new; it’s in the King James Bible. (I do avoid it in formal contexts because I know some people hate it, but I equally hate it when people blather on about how incorrect it is.)
Split infinitives are not an error.
Agreed. I think that rule is outdated.
A good writer should use both active and passive voice, purposefully. Know the difference, and know when to use which.
I don’t disagree with the purposeful and appropriate use of active voice. But I see too many writers use it because they are scared to advocate, be forceful, or make a point. I review a lot of performance evaluations and disciplinary letters that are watered down by passive voice to the point that they are worthless.
As to the other points, I guess I remain a fuddy-duddy. Climbing on the bandwagon does not seem a good enough reason to improperly construct sentences. :)
sorry, that first sentence should have said passive voice — i hate it so much I can’t even type it!
I just have to do this. You say you insist on perfection, yet in the very sentence where you say this, you have a grammatical error. “I am just over 40 and I really don’t allow for a margin of error in e-mail communications (or any other written work product).” You need a comma after “40” and before “and” — so before you go insisting on perfection, perhaps you should apply that standard to yourself.
S. Laurel West
While anon’s and several other “grammar police” critiques may seem a tad persnickety, I have to thank all of you for them. You are giving me more reason than ever to polish up my writing skills.
I think this is less an age thing and more an industry thing. My grammar has gotten far far worse since leaving academia–a result likely stemming from my industry’s tolerance of poorly formed sentences and incorrect word usage.
We have large numbers of international colleagues and clients for whom English is not a first language and success is measured by the ability to build client relationships (communicate), not by one’s ability to write and speak perfectly. For all of our clients, succinct, timely communication by our staff would be preferred over grammatically correct communication.
I would never in a million years have thought to wear navy underneath the cardigan, but love the idea – thanks!
One problem I have with thin sweaters/cardigans: the girls stand at attention. a lot. Since I work with all men in a professional setting, this is an issue. I have upped my use of button-down shirts, but would like to wear a nice cashmere sweater without having to duck into the ladies’ room all the time to calm things down. Any suggestions on how to deal with this?
Try a lightly padded “t-shirt bra.”
Agree. The Chantelle t-shirt bra changed my life. Worth every ridiculously expensive penny.
Thirded. Depending on your bust size, you can even get a decent quality tshirt bra for a good price at Target or Kohl’s just to see if you like the style at all and then invest in some more expensive ones.
GapBody t-shirt bras do the trick for me–I have the same problem!
My Spanx padded bra is extremely comfortable and is thick enough to do the job.
I have the same problem. I use Breast Petals from Target: http://www.target.com/Beautiful-You-Breast-Petals-Skin/dp/B000NGIWMY/ref=sc_qi_detailbutton
Neiman’s sells Spanx new “Bra-leluyah” which is a lined, flesh-colored bra with wide straps made specifically to show your shape but not the “details”….. Cheaper imitations are at Target as well…
anon for this
Random, perhaps callous sounding threadjack.
So a person that I work with has TERRIBLE style. Normally, I wouldn’t care because I’m not so concerned with other people’s clothes (I spend enough time being concerned with my own) but I think that this will have a negative impact on her professionally, and I have a lot of respect for her work and her abilities so I want to see her succeed.
So here’s the problem, about 75% of the issue is that she is extremely overweight. Now, I’m no doctor, but I wouldn’t be out of line to say she is morbidly obese. And that’s not an issue for dressing nice, one of the best most professional and stylishly dressed women in my office is overweight as well. BUT, with this woman in particular, I think there may be an issue with choosing clothing that fits well, is good quality, and overall flatters her rather than making her look, just borderline unprofessional.
How do I approach this, if at all? She’s not a clothing/accessories obsessed person, otherwise I’d just suggest this blog to her. But doing so would be out of left field, and might be impliedly more harsh than what I would say in person. In general, I wouldn’t say anything, but as she’s a bright and hardworking person working under me with a ton of potential (and a woman of color to boot) I feel a sort of mentorship thing that I haven’t felt in other situations. What’s the delicate and helpful approach to this sitch?
When you say “mentorship,” do you mean that you are higher in the organization than she is? How much higher? I think that matters. If you don’t have that much interaction with her, and you’re a partner who isn’t really personally involved in her career right now, it might seem out of left field and be kind of embarrassing for her. If you are in some sort of supervisory role or closer to her position (though not at the same level), I’d think it has the *possibility* to be taken well.
Is she having problems complying with the dress code, or is it that her clothes just don’t look right for the job she wants (the old, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” advice)?
All of this is kind of overshadowed by flashing red lights and flags waving and thoughts that she could get extremely embarrassed and self conscious by this type of advice. I would proceed with extreme caution.
My firm experienced a similar situation with an attorney we wanted to keep on board. We ended up making a joint appointment at Nordstrom for some professional dressing advice. We brought it up at a “marketing meeting” when “brainstorming” about marketing/branding ideas. The whole thing was a little passive agressive for my taste, but it ended up improving the individual’s dress. I think the approach depends on if the person wants a better image and just needs help vs. someone who owns the disheveled look.
Obviously well-intentioned but how mortifying! It’s like those people who nominate their colleagues for “What Not to Wear.”
I’ve always assumed the colleagues are in on it for the $5k in free clothes, but that might just be because it makes the show that much less awkward for me. :-)
As a plus size woman, I will caution you to tread lightly around this issue. If you are a straight size woman, you probably have no idea how difficult it can be for larger women to find high quality, business appropriate clothing, that is also figure flattering. I wear a size 16, so things are only mildly challenging for me, but I’ve seen comments on plus size blogs from women who are a size 20 and above and it seems as though the issue becomes a nightmare once you get past a certain size. I’m not saying that this is the case for you, but I also find that some straight size women have preconcieved notions about how larger women should dress; no colors, patterns, no pencil skirts, and dresses should be trapeze style–in short, dress so they fade into the background.
You mention that there is a stylish plus size woman in your office. I think if that woman attempts to take your co-worker under her wing, it will be more about her style than her weight, which would probably be the message conveyed if a smaller person approaches her.
“You mention that there is a stylish plus size woman in your office. I think if that woman attempts to take your co-worker under her wing, it will be more about her style than her weight, which would probably be the message conveyed if a smaller person approaches her.”
This. In this situation she’d be getting advice from someone who is in a similar situation as herself and can probably give her some advice specific to her body type/issues. If you’re a plus-size woman, getting fashion advice from a woman half your size is likely not helpful and potentially demeaning and frustrating.
When you’re a larger size it’s just harder to dress both stylishly and professionally than it is if you’re a cookie-cutter size 6. I’m a size 12-14 and even I have a hard time finding stylish and professional clothes that fit. A lot of stores favorited by professional women don’t carry sizes above sizes 10 or 12 in store and maybe have sizes 14 or 16 on their websites (I’m looking at you, Banana Republic and JCrew, among others). But that’s a rant for a different day.
If you decide to approach her yourself, please be gentle. Try to make it clear that this is not about her size or weight but about her professional future. Let her know that her work is great and you have a ton of respect for her professionally, but her style and professional dress portrarys the image that she just doesn’t give a crap and that you’d hate to see her get held back because of it.
I think her size might only be relevant insofar as she feels bad about her body and doesn’t know how to dress stylishly and in a flattering manner.
Perhaps the stylish and overweight coworker would be a better person to broach this with her. As a somewhat big girl myself, I’d be very sensitive to a slender woman trying to tell me what to wear.
If you want to approach her, I’d do it in the form of professional mentoring. In the context of professional mentorship, it’s appropriate to mention that she needs to dress in a more polished manner.
Incidentally, she might just not care. I have a colleague who is very, um, shapely, and she dresses to show it off. Everyone knows that her sense of style is preventing her from being promoted, because our boss does not trust her to dress appropriately in front of clients and senior execs. She is very, very good at her job, but anyone who doesn’t know her work well would assume that she’s completely frivolous. She’s been turned down for a promotion repeatedly, but she either doesn’t’ get the message or she doesn’t care.
You should NOT be judgementel about other women’s dressing styles. It is best to just look at your own style. I know that it NEVER pays to be a busy body, especially if the woman is not as attractive / stylesh as you may be.
Personally, I just want to stay stylish, and dress well. I am a size 6, so there are some that are even more petite then me. I do not care to much about others, but I do NOT like the manageing partner staring at me all of the time. He thinks I look like Gwyneth Paltrow, and others agree, but so what. She is alot more famous then me.
It is probabley too much if I take over the role of fashion policewoman, b/c that would be cruel.
I just want to do my job, get paid, and live my life. Stay away from being judgementel about other women. That is BAD.
black is white, up is down, and Ellen is the voice of reason today.
Does anyone else watch The Soup? They have a segment called “Stephanie Pratt: Unlikely Voice of Reason.” The theme song for that segment just started going through my head…
HA! I know exactly what you’re referring to.
I would only go the opposite direction, and compliment her on those occasions when she wears a particularly nice or appropriate article of clothing or outfit. Unless you already have have a close relationship with her, I would avoid saying or doing anything else.
Be aware and sensitive to the fact that buying nice quality plus-size clothes is much more expensive typically than for straight-size shopping.
And the chances of finding a wide selection of nice mark-downs usually available to the ‘average-sized’ person is less like as well. (Bargain shopping)
* * * * *
Also, a plus-size body varies much in sizing than a straight size. For instance, a coat that fits me horizontally will not fit me vertically. I’m petite so the shoulders in normal womens sizes extend about 6 inches past my own, and the sleeves are at least 6 inches too long.
Yeah, I could have it tailored, but that’s expensive and I’d guess making that big of a change is really going to affect the proportions and look.
Do you know how hard it is for to find plus-sized clothes that aren’t appalling? EXTREMELY.
The sizings vary outrageously, the prices are outrageous- even for the cheaply-made junk at Lane Bryant- and everything is either super low-cut or ridiculously covered up (I’m talking about one-piece turtleneck+vest combos. Quite frankly, your co-worker is probably grateful that she has found clothing that covers her and looks (compared to everything else in the stores) somewhat decent.
I agree with everyone else who says to let the classily dress plus-sized woman fashion-mentor her. If someone wearing straight-sizes tried to help me with my style, I’d probably verbally witch-slap her. Unless one has been fat, one can’t understand the fat shopping experience.
anon for this
Original poster here:
Thanks for the advice, the consensus is to ask the sharp dressing plus sized lady to be her style mentor. Now I just have to figure a way to do it that doesn’t come off as catty/gossipy.
Also, for clarification, I’m no skinny minnie (size 12-14), but I also understand that it’s all relative and so maybe even at my size I’d be considered “straight sized” by someone in the 20s. I thought maybe as a curvier gal I could get away with it in solidarity, but then my style doesn’t come close to my colleague’s style sense, so best leave it with the experts.
THANKS, even to ELLEN.
Lurex doesn’t sound like nice material. What is it?
Cute sweater – as a fair-skinned blonde, this color looks fantastic on me.
At what point is it ok/acceptable to follow up on a job application/interview? I had an interview recently and I was told they expect to have a decision in 2 weeks. Now, 2 weeks has passed. Is it ok to email to check in on the status of my application? (yes, I’m a little anxious and desperately unemployed)
Also, if I do email should I email the HR coordinator (who set up the interview) or the lead interviewer (who I believe is the attorney in charge of hiring)?
I would wait until a few days after the 2-week mark. So, if that’s today, I’d honestly probably wait until Friday or (if you can stand it) Monday. Not sure who to email, but my gut says the interviewer. That person might have a better idea of timeline if the committee hasn’t chosen someone yet than an HR person would.
I would say after 3 weeks, and email HR. If you have something new to add – like an updated resume – then it’s ok to email the lead interviewer, but if you’re just checking in, I wouldn’t bother a busy attorney.
anon for this
I think I hate my job, which I’ve only been at for a few months. I’m at a State government agency, and getting back to the same city as my husband is part of why I took this position. I was hired on a temporary basis pending state budgets, but at the time my boss also pointed out that she knew I was overqualified for this job and hopefully something longer term and better fit (I thought) would open up soon. For perspective, I had a similar job 7 years ago, but even then I had more responsibility. More recently I’ve been overseeing people doing similar work to mine at the Federal level. The other person with my job is fresh out of school and it takes her about 5-10 times as long to do the same work (not dissing on her, it’s just stuff I’ve done for so long I don’t even think about it).
I was recently told my position will be made permanent, but there isn’t likely room for advancement in my unit for at least a year or two. To make things worse, I can’t stand my senior manager, and my direct boss is probably leaving in a few months. I’m trying to decide whether to quit or stick it out. I am looking in other parts of my agency, but the only real potential position is quite a stretch (though I am trying for it). I’m also looking outside, but I’m worried that it’ll look bad to be here such a short time. My two previous positions were less than two years for reasons that are easy to understand in an interview, hard to explain on a resume.
What should I do? I feel like I waste much of my days, and I often come home on the verge of tears b/c I’m just so unmotivated and unchallenged by what I do. I have trouble getting up for work which is something I haven’t experienced in almost 10 years (and I left that job to go to grad school). I think quitting would look bad, but I’m not sure how staying is helping me either. Advice?
In this ecomony, be happy that you have work, and start looking for fullfillment in volunteer work. Get involved in a pro bono project and take care of yourself.
I think the “in this economy” answers are tired and also unhelpful in these situations. Yes, the economy is still sluggish. Yes it will be difficult to find another job. BUT you know that you are miserable NOW.
You get one life. It’s bad enough we spend the majority of the waking portion of that life working. At the very least you should like what you do. Keep looking, and if you have a cushion and a spouse who will support you, leave your current job. You will never be able to get this time you are depressed back, but a few bucks of debt, that you can’t take with you when you go.
If you can stand it, or if doing pro bono/volunteer work tempers the misery, then by all means keep collecting the steady pay. But if you find it hard to wake up in the mornings, every morning, this job and the income it provides is simply not worth your mental health, even in this economy.
anon for this
Thanks AB, this is sort of what I’m thinking. While my income is helpful, we’d be quite comfortable on my husband’s salary so it’s not necessary. My real concern is how bad it would look if I leave this job after a few months…and if I leave before finding something? I have a few leads right now (incl. a job interview but in another part of the country which poses logistical problems), but I’m worried that I’ll look like a total flake really trying to find a new job after only a couple of months in mine. How bad would it look?
I think that when you are worried about how bad something will look is when you hide behind “in this economy.” People understand weird stuff in work histories when there is a recession. So long as you can articulate a really good reason (and you have in the above post) you should be fine.
Wow. Must be nice to just bail on a job when it gets tough and live off a man.
3 jobs in less than 6 years. That says a lot.
That’s a really crappy thing to say. She said that she took this job to live in the same place as her husband. Sounds like she obviously left a job somewhere else to do that, and she clearly wants to be working now. Sure, it’s nice to be in a two-income partnership that allows you the flexibility to leave a job sometimes. But that kind of partnership, on the other hand, can take a good bit of career flexibility away from you.
For instance: I have no potential for advancement in my job and am completely burned out from the past few years of doing more with far fewer people. The job market where I live is tiny, however, and I can’t apply for jobs elsewhere because my husband wants to stay in his job for now. So my career is stuck for the sake of his. Marriage has pros, but it also has cons. Balancing two careers isn’t always easy.
Yeah, it is nice to be married and mutually support one another. Must suck to have no one willing to support you, Amery. Or to not have reading comprehension skills (it’s not a “tough” job, is a far too easy one). What a vitriolic, loveless, and bitter person you must be Amery. Or at the very least, a useless commenter on a message board, hoping to spread bad will to complete strangers. THAT says a lot.
Ive been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me.