Weekend Open Thread

Something on your mind? Chat about it here.

Pictured: kate spade “Collingwood Drive” Mug, available at Amazon for $25.


  1. We’ve picked the winners and notified them via e-mail.

    So, question of the weekend: is it, like, really lame that we keep illustrating these weekend open-threads with coffee cups? Not sure if I’m still stuck in “wedding brain,” or if we shouldn’t use a wine glass instead.

  2. Wine glasses would be great. Skip the martini glasses, though. I think everyone over the age of 21 has a pile of them in their cupboards. We just got some Schott Zweisel classicos, and they are pretty stylish.

  3. I have loved the cute tea cups. But today I’m in a wine glass mood.

  4. Wine glasses don’t generally come in as many varieties–and it’s summer. How about summer drink glassware?

  5. housecounsel :

    I don’t love the cups, but until I have a better idea, I won’t complain.

  6. I just got this dress from Banana….it is SEXY on, but like a coporate sexy…appropriate! Obviously, it’s longer on me than it is on this leggy model–knee length and i’m 5’6. I LOVE wearing dresses at work


  7. Hello, I am starting my first corporate job in a conservative office. I have a $2,000.00 clothing budget to get me through the next 3-4 months while I square away my post-grad finances, cross-country moving expenses, etc. How would you ladies suggest I spend that money wisely? I was thinking:
    $1,000.00 – great suit
    $300 – decent black pumps
    $200 – some decent button down shirts
    $500 – pencil skirt, pants, and a few sweaters
    (I already have a very nice bag and cashmere coat – graduation gifts)
    Should I buy more quantity at lower quality or try to buy a few nice things and wear them more often? Do people notice when you wear the same items over and over again?
    Thank you!

  8. I’d love earrings! Basically, I haven’t been able to find work-appropriate OR weekend/casual cute earrings in the longest time… Having a cute pair to open up the weekend open thread would be delightful in my selfish opinion!

  9. And one more thing I’ve been meaning to ask — who, generally, is the plural “we” of Corporette? I usually think of C as one person, until that first-person-plural makes its way into a post. I’ve been mystified: is it, in fact, more than one person — a group who just happens to have the same taste, body type, and opinion(s) — or a delightful user of the royal “we”??

    Stuck at work and wondering…

  10. Minneapolis Career Girl :

    For $2,000, you could get a lot more clothing. You can get an absolutely amazing and fabulous suit for less than $1,000. In fact, if you’re doing the right kind of bargain shopping, you could buy 2-3 suits for that much. I would buy a brown, grey and black and that way you can mix and match pieces with the right accessories.

    Same goes for shoes. Instead of spending $300 on black pumps you’ll wear so much they’ll wear out, I would spend $100 on a pair of black pumps, nude pumps and black flats. Look at brands like DKNYC from Macy’s and search on Piperlime. You can get stylish, high quality shoes for a great price.

    Good luck!

  11. housecounsel :

    mkm, I wear my David Yurman crossover collection cable-wrap hoops almost every day. The picture shows extra-large, but I wear the medium size: http://www.neimanmarcus.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml?itemId=prod48610001&parentId=cat16650744&masterId=cat16650743&index=86&cmCat=cat000000cat2830732cat2830733cat000160cat540734cat16650743cat16650744

    They’re both silver and gold, so they go with everything.

  12. housecounsel :

    And Ruth, if I were just starting out, I wouldn’t spend $1,000 on one suit. Actually, I wouldn’t spend $1 ,000 now. I’d get two (or three, if you found a good sale or got lucky at a Saks Off Fifth outlet store) from Theory, or J.Crew.

  13. la péagoise :

    $300 for pumps? nah. go for the $70-100 pair. imho, of course.

  14. That is a hot dress!

    Ruth – I agree with housecounsel for several reasons. Do you really want to wear only one suit almost daily? The economy is still hurting retail stores, take advantage of it! And I keep hearing about the fact that stores are using lower quality pieces right now (at the same prices) to compensate for the economy. As such, the $1,000 suit would be lower quality this year than next anyway.

    I’m a huge fan of separates as much as possible (and wear them in a conservative office in a not-so-conservative town). That said, I’ve seen more and more men in slacks and sport coats (not suits) in court these days than anything else. And I feel like if they can do it, so can we. If you’re in a place where you can wear separates, they’d definitely take you a lot farther (you can mix up your suits the same way!)

  15. newassociate :

    need advice re: managing a secretary.

    after the last round of layoffs at my biglaw firm, i got a new secretary. my previous secretary was amazing and widely regarded at one of the best in the office, but my new secretary… not so much. i asked her for a printed copy of a complaint, double sided b/w and stuck in a 3 ring binder on wednesday. i still don’t have it. mostly all i need is copies, meeting makers, and other minor tasks, so i don’t understand why it’s not getting done unless it’s a passive aggressive thing.

    i’m 28, she’s probably early to mid 30s. all the other attorneys she works for are men, and more senior than me (i’m the only first year in our group). added to the mix is that the staff evals start next week. i’ve only been with her a few weeks, so i think it would be rather unfair for me to rate her poorly based on only a few weeks, which could really hurt her overall performance eval, but then again i need a useful secretary.

    what should i do?

    • Hi, newassociate.
      I experienced the exact same thing when I was a first year in a 100% male wing of the office, and my secretary had a daughter that is 2 years younger than me. I realize that I am low on the pecking order, but that’s no excuse for not helping or at the very least informing you that the project will not be done in time so that you can request help from elsewhere. So, I disagree with eplawyer that requests of a senior atty must take precedence. Due dates should dictate precedence, and efficiency to maximize profits of the firm. Secretaries should realize that the more they assist and save an attorney’s time, the more profits there are to make to pay for their bonuses.

      At my firm, I could have raised this issue during her review, but I chose not to. I didn’t want to come off as whiny (especially as a first year) in case my partners or senior attys find out, and I didn’t want to ruin the secretary’s chances of a bonus because people in the office gossip and I was certain that my bad review of her would be discovered by her. I quickly learned that it is the atty’s responsibility no matter what, even if your secretary is most incompetent or incalcitrant. A partner will not hear of excuses that your secretary sux. Neither will a client.

      Part of our job as an atty is to deal with difficult people, being diplomatic, learning to garner respect from others no matter if we look like we’re 15, and learning to delegate effectively.

      So, what did I do as a practical matter? I informed the secretary that I’m working with partner X and I need help to make copies. I asked her if she can handle this, otherwise I will ask someone else. The day before the agreed due date, check up on her, and if she can’t handle it tell her that you will burden another secretary to do the work as a result (i.e., putting her on the seat and letting her know that you will inform other staffers that she is shirking off her responsibilities and passing them off to others). If all else failed, I sucked it up. Occasionally, I was the one making the copies if it needed to get done. At the end of the day, the partner and client only cares if you completed the job well. No excuses.

  16. Sit down and talk to her about her priorities. It could be, if she is the secretary for several people all senior to you, she may feel that their requests take precedence over yours.

    On the other hand, if she can’t even get a couple of copies done in a reasonable amount of time (while something is printing for someone else), then you are justified in mentioning this in the evaluations. Making copies is a pretty basic task.

    I was a paralegal/secretary before finally going for the whole enchilada. So, I know about balancing competing requests, multi-tasking and what it takes to be a darn good secretary.

    I bought my first pencil skirt with the discount coupon. Got the linen one in turquoise.

  17. ILikeCorporette :

    I need a recommendation for a versatile work bag. My old black Coach one is done for and I am done with Coach. I have very few accessories so I would like a bag that gives me some sense of style yet is appropriate in financial services. Any suggestions?

    Needs to hold file folders etc.

  18. Ruth, I agree with the above; you don’t need to spend $1000 and you will really want a couple of good/b asic/neutral suits, where you can mix it up with some good separates. For my first corporate job I got a black suit and a taupe one, two blazers that went with the suit skirts, and some pants that went with the blazers, plus a few sheath dresses that the jackets worked with. I agree you’ll need a few pairs of shoes but I have to say I wore black most of the time. Depending on how formal your office is and whether you have dress down fridays, you might need some of that budget for business casual clothes too – I found NONE of my college wardrobe worked for corporate casual, and I didn’t want to wear the same suits, but you can get away with the pants/skirts with cardigans or sweater sets – appropriate business casual was actually harder for me than regular business attire. as for stores, the big dept store sales are definitely worth hitting if your timing is good, the prices can be incredible. Good luck!

  19. ChickintheStix :

    Ruth, chiming in to agree with others. Go easier on suit quality and get some variety–for your own mental health. I was 6 months pregnant and in trial, and I had to wear the same suit for almost 3 weeks straight. No fun! Also, that gives you some time to wear lots of cuts and decide which makes you feel the most confident. Then you really know where to spend your money.

    KLo, I rarely wear separates for court appearances. Even here in the stix, there’s too much judgment–especially if you’re young and female. I save color and separates for client meetings and office days.

    newassociate, I know a good secretary is worth her weight in gold. I’ve had the other kind, too. But, if you think you’ll be working together into the future, you need her. She is your operating condition, and she could really save your tush some day. So, attribute it to her forgetting to put it on her mental/written task list, give her a gentle reminder (“have you had a chance to put that complaint binder together? I’ll need it by ___.”) or do it and tell her she can take it off her task list. As for the review, you don’t have data points for a bad review and its wake. Spending that capital now probably won’t help either of you in the long run. Sounds like there’s a lot of undercurrent happening–which is always the case with layoffs. Good luck.

  20. Dear All,

    Thank you so much for the suggestions! I feel a lot better knowing I can spread those funds further. I have some friends who are a few years ahead who recommended going the very expensive suit route, but I think having a well-rounded wardrobe is first priority now. The fancy stuff can be added over time. Again, thank you so much for your fantastic advice. I love reading this blog and all the great comments.

  21. I love the idea of featuring a cool accessory, such as earrings or necklaces, instead of the tea cup (though I think that’s really cute, too). My request for accessories is selfish, and I have a question in that regard. I have very, very few work-appropriate earrings and necklaces, so almost every day I opt for my pearl necklace and matching earrings. They are real and high quality, but am I going to be considered that weird girl who always wears pearls if I wear them 3 or 4 days a week?

    • I wear my pearl studs 95% of the time and very much doubt anyone notices/cares! However, I do mix up the necklaces – sometimes my pearls, sometimes silver – as those are usually more noticeable, and because I take off my necklace at night (the earrings usually stay in), it’s not such an extra step in the morning to pick a necklace as it is to decide on what pair to put in my ears :)

  22. NYC_Associate :

    Agree with the above on the advice to Ruth. Absolutely spend less than that and get more variety, esp at first while you’re still trying to figure out what you like, what looks good on you, etc.
    Some additional suggestions — don’t spend all that money at once, wait to get a feel for what is appropriate at your office. For instance, after starting at my job last fall, I quickly learned that some prints (knits/shirts) that I bought that I thought would be work-appropriate turned out to be too casual, in my opinion — everyone else wears solid colors in my office, it’s rather conservative, so now I avoid buying prints for work. Also, don’t go out now and force yourself to buy things you don’t 100% like just so you’ll have a bunch of stuff starting out.
    Try to find pieces that work together so you can mix and match. In this regard, it may be boring but I’ve found that it’s easiest to mix pieces if I stick to one base color — black, in my case. But maybe that’s just laziness on my part and a strange inability to find comfortable and professional shoes that are not black.

  23. Emily, I wear pearl earrings 4-5 days a week (white pearls, and one day of black pearls) and no one says anything. Pearls are classic and versatile. I say keep wearing them as often as you like!

    • Delta Sierra :

      I love the look of a plain black pearl stud worn with a white one on the other side, but that only works if they are exactly the same size and shape. You see it in centuries-old paintings all the time. Well, now and then, anyhow.

  24. For anyone doing some shopping this weekend at Banana, Gap or Old Navy, click on below and print out the pdf. Its a 30% off coupon that is reusable for all of the above AND the Gap and Banana outlets too!


  25. For Ilikecorporette:
    Try Longchamp’s Roseau leather tote. Usually carried at Nordstrom, Saks, and Bloomingdales. It’s professional, classic, and wears like iron — I just recently wore out the one I bought during B-school (eleven years ago).

  26. MKM – there is a general rule that you spend 1% of your annual income on a suit – so the more you earn, the higher the level of job you have, the more you spend.

    Hope that helps.

    • respectfully disagree – this would place new associates in biglaw spending well north of $1000 on one suit. As this is in line with a mortgage payment… If you need a suit only rarely, it’s a vast overallocation of work-clothing funds. If you need a suit often, much better to get 2-3 mid-range suits for the money (Theory, Brooks Brothers, J.crew depending on the fabric).

    • Imogen, where did this general rule come from? I have been practicing law for twenty years (in NYC and D.C.) and have never heard of such a “rule.”

  27. NYC_Associate :

    Agree that featuring a cool accessory would be most helpful. I don’t really have any use for “cute” tea/coffee cups.

    Re: the pearls every day — depends on how it looks on you, I think. Could work but could also make you look kind of boring. Also I hate to say it, there was this one girl in my law school who wore pearls every day to class, and I always thought of her as the “pearl girl.” But that might be different, since generally people wear more casual clothes/accessories to class, so maybe that’s why she stood out. Still, it was noticeable, but maybe not so much in a conservative office.

  28. Ruth,

    I agree with everyone re the suit, but I disagree on the shoes. I usually spend from $150-300 per pair of shoes and usually have one pair of black heels that I wear almost everyday for six months or so when I decide to look for a new style. In my experience, anything less than that is likely to be uncomfortable (and probably explains why people complain about wearing heels). Also, in this price range, you probably won’t have to worry about wearing them out. In the unlikely event that a heel breaks, you can get it repaired. In contrast, heels under $100 are usually so poorly constructed that when the heel breaks, the cobbler will actually advise against fixing it because it will cost $50+ and probably only give you a couple more months use of the shoe.

  29. ILikeCorporette :

    Meg – I love it! Thx “Longchamp’s Roseau leather tote. Usually carried at Nordstrom, Saks”

  30. housecounsel :

    Emily, there are worse things to be remembered as (fashion-wise) than the girl who always wore pearls. Mix it up a little, but don’t let this be a source of stress.

    I was thinking $300 was too much to spend for a first pair of serious pumps, but maybe that’s because I am the queen of Nordstrom Rack. I bought Taryn Rose pumps there, originally $465, for $99, and Cole Haan pumps ($250-$300) for $49!

  31. housecounsel–good point. If you can get shoes at the Rack, that’s ideal.