Weekly News Update

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Refinery29 profiles 3 chic finance girls and their desk to dinner looks.
– Belle rounds up her favorite camisoles at Capitol Hill Style (although I disagree with her on one point: I think nude camisoles are inappropriate for the office).
The Careerist complains about Hillary Clinton’s long hair, and Above the Law‘s Staci Zaretsky opines that if you’re good at your job, your hairstyle shouldn’t matter.
– Do executive women (the ones who can afford 2-3 nannies and baby nurses) need maternity leave?  The NYT wonders, and the WSJ’s The Juggle wishes Marissa Mayer the best (but raises a lot of the reasons why maternity leaves are generally useful).
– Are you the family breadwinner — and if so, how does that affect your marriage?  Both the WSJ and More Worth look at the issue.
The Jane Dough recommends the 15 best companies for women.  Meanwhile, Savvy Sugar wonders whether the office is like middle school.
– There are a ton of great travel tips in this NYT article.

Did we miss anything? Add ’em here, or send them to [email protected] Thank you!


  1. Both the NYT and WSJ links to articles about Mayer link to the WSJ one.

  2. MissJackson :

    I was so bowled over by the “wearing sheer shirts to work is okay” article that I don’t think that I ever noticed Kat’s suggestion that a nude cami is inappropriate at the office. I think I disagree. I’m not talking about full-on sheer shirts, but a silk shirt that’s just a tiny bit sheer can just *stop looking sheer* with a nude cami on underneath. I don’t think it automatically means that you look naked underneath your sheer shirt.

    Am I totally off base on this?

    • I agree with you. I wear nude bras under white shirts instead of white ones and sometimes I wear nude camis under light colored shirts too.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I agree.

    • You’re right; it’s the same theory as wearing nude rather than white panties under white pants.

  3. 2/3 attorney :

    Rookie question: as I have mentioned times-a-million, I am making my first trip to DC to intern this fall. I have never ridden a subway anywhere in my life. My question: would it be really stupid for me to make my first subway trip immediately upon my arrival (by train) to DC, rolly-suitcase in tow? Any country-girl-in-the-city/ new-subway-rider advice appreciated!

    • The DC subway system is more confusing than NYC or Boston, IMO, because you pay a different fare depending on your trip, and I also find the fare machines a little less intuitive. Plus, now if you use a paper fare card, it’s an extra $1 each way. If you’re arriving to Union Station, you should be able to get one of the SmartTrip cards there (they cost $5, I think), and load that with money.

      Are you comfortable carrying your suitcase up/down stairs (or a broken escalator)? If you’re ok with that and don’t mind just taking it slow to figure out where you’re going, go for it on the subway. The signage is decent, and you can generally hear the announcements in the train cars.

      Where are you going in DC once you arrive? Depending on where (how far, how many subway transfers), it might be worth it just to cab it.

    • It wouldn’t be stupid, although if you’re arriving at rush hour be prepared for it to be crowded and for people to shoot you and your suitcase dirty looks. If possible try to sit in a seat that has empty space in front of it (the ones closest to the doors) and put your suitcase between your knees or just in front of you. Whatever you do, don’t block an empty seat and don’t block the aisle. And under no circumstances should you stand on the left of the escalator or let your suitcase block the left.

      Also, don’t be shy about asking for directions if you need it. DC people are generally pretty nice about helping tourists out.

      • This. When on a Metro escalator, stand right, walk left. When Metro-ing with a rolly bag, I pull it tight onto the step right behind me so I’m not taking up any extra space crosswise. Also, please please please, when you step onto the train, keep moving in through the doors without stopping to look for a seat. There are people behind you trying to get on so keep moving into the train and figure out the seating/standing thing once you’re all the way into the train.

    • First of all, make sure your destination on the other side is actually comfortably walkable from the metro station. Try to time your arrival so it’s midday, or at least not during rush hour. Stand on the right side of the escalator so that people can walk on the left. Wait for people to exit before you get on the train. If you have to transfer at Metro Center or Chinatown, check the signs so you end up on the right platform. Other than that, being your usual considerate self is all you need! It’s a piece of cake, especially DC’s metro.

    • The DC Metro system is a great one to learn on! — it’s clean, not intimidating, people are generally helpful with questions … you’ll find it easy to learn and use when you get here. I grew up in a very rural area, and was able to figure it out really quickly when I got here for an internship in high school.

      As to doing it the first time with a suitcase, do you know yet which airport you are flying into, and what is your final destination? I take my big rolly-suitcases on the Metro all the time when traveling to/from Reagan airport from my condo. But Reagan is currently the only easily-accessible-by-Metro airport, and my condo is also right next to a Metro stop.

    • You can do it! If you can buy a SmarTrip (I hate that there’s only one T) ahead of time, that will help you a lot. The paper fare cards are annoying. I ordered mine on the internet and they mailed it to me, but I think now you can buy them in Union Station too. DC’s metro may have many problems, but it’s definitely something you can get a handle on pretty quickly. Figure out what color line you want to be on and what your stop will be, and then how to transfer if it’s not on the red line (I’m assuming you’ll be coming from Union Station, which is on the red line). Write it all down so you’ll know when you get there. Bags are not a problem as long as you don’t block entrances, doors, or escalators with them. In fact, waiting for the elevator is OK!

    • Merabella :

      How far is the subway ride? How expensive is a cab? Is there a bus option? These would be a question to myself, even as a subway experienced person. If you feel up for it and don’t have a tight schedule I would say go for it. Expect it will take longer than normal because you aren’t familiar.

      • DC Metro is rolly-bag friendly (NYC isn’t). If you are flying into National, it may be much faster to travel via Metro at rush hour than to take a cab. And it would be OK to ask directions — lots of new folks b/w tourists, interns, students, weekend users, and military people coming to a new post.

    • Another Zumba Fan :

      I suggest downloading the DC Rider app.

    • 2/3 attorney :

      Thanks for all the advice! On a related note, I really do hope we have another DC meetup in the fall so I can meet all of you lovely ladies!

      I am getting in on the train coming from Chicago (just visiting, don’t live there) so I won’t be coming from an airport. I am going to the East Capitol Hill area, so it looks like 3 stops on red line and 8 on the blue (that is, if google maps public transportation directions are accurate). Unfortunately, my train arrives at Union Station at 6:06 pm – high-rush hour, I’d imagine. Maybe a cab is best? Fortunately, I have a few days between when I get there and when I have to start work so I can learn the subway!

      So, it’s stand on the left, right? ;)

      • After all the Metro advice, if I were you I’d actually just cab it. It’s not an extremely long ride, and you won’t have to transfer with tons of stuff.

        • Yeah, if there’s a transfer involved and your destination is within the District, it would be easier just to take a cab. Getting a cab from Union Station is easy — there is a line right in front of the station.

      • I don’t know what traffic would be like in that area at that time, but Union Station probably isn’t that far (as the bird flies) from where you want to end up, so I would see how long Google maps says it would take to drive, if you were to take a cab. If you look at www [dot] wmata [dot] com and then look at their rail maps, you can get a sense for the subway system.

      • Oh — definitely cab it! It’s a quick, short cab ride but a looooooooong metro ride into the middle of downtown then back out to the hill, if you’re going to the eastern market or stadium-armory area. There’s a taxi stand at Union Station.

      • Oh, Union Station is on Capitol Hill. It would be a 5 minute cab ride, and probably 45 minutes on Metro. The cab shouldn’t cost more than $10. Take a cab.

      • Anonymous :

        You can do it! Just buy your Smartrip card online before you arrive and use wmata.com to plan your trip (I find it’s better than the lousy apps out there, and Hopstop works well for NYC but not DC). Lots of tourists in DC, most of us who live here are friendly and happy to help out. :)

    • You can get a Smartrip card at any CVS. Or you can order online. Best of luck and enjoy your time in DC!

    • ChristinaMD :

      I grew up in DC, my half-sister grew up in Raleigh.
      She recently shared a story about 5 years ago she flew into National from RDU and met our father at his downtown office.

      She boards a relatively empty train, with her suitcase, and proceeds to, “Well, hello there!” to the people on the train. She said a couple just looked up like WTF, but one – when they stopped laughing, commented that she wasn’t from around here. Makes me LOL everytime I think about it

      I agree with the other commenters who’ve shared that the metro is generally roll-luggage friendly provided it’s not the height of rush hour.

      Welcome to DC, let us know if you need anything!

      • My cousin (who was visiting me) got about 30 people in a Metro car at rush hour to help her with a crossword puzzle. I was amazed.

  4. 2/3 Attorney, absolutely not. In fact you won’t be alone. Just look up some of the maps ahead of time so you won’t be as nervous about getting on and off. And remember, stand to the right and walk to the left on escalators. It’s a big thing there.

    Now, when I was a student there I took the subway with far more and I can tell you there is a point of diminishing returns.

    • Honey Pillows :

      Amen, sister. Please, please, PLEASE stand to the right. We’re a city of Very Busy People with Very Important Schedules to keep. Woe betide the hapless traveler with the huge suitcase standing obliviously on the left side of the Dupont Circle escalator.

      • Wow, you walk up Dupont? I always see people like you walk by, panting, and I think wow, I would never do that.*

        *You know, except for the time when all the escalators were broken and there was a 20 minute wait for the elevator.

        • Honey Pillows :

          I’m too cheap to join a gym. :-)

        • I’ve never felt like as much as a wimp as I did panting up Dupont Circle the time all the escalators broke.

          • I had to walk to the 7th floor today because our elevators were out of service and I was sweating like a pig and panting. I couldn’t believe it – I am in quite good shape. Climbing escalators is even harder because the steps are higher than regular stairs.

      • And don’t stand right in front of the subway car doors while people are trying to get on and off. And let people get off the car, before trying to get on the car. And just generally be aware of your surrounding and if your rolling bag, or the bag on your shoulder, are more in the way than they need to be. And don’t stand right at the top or bottom of the escalator as you try to get your bearings -but that one applies to all escalators everything, not just the Metro :)



    • 2/3 attorney :

      I also wonder whether at 26 and (obvs) almost a lawyer, if I would appear more professional if I cut my hair and dye it darker drown. It’s 5 or 6 inches above my bra strap, but significantly below my shoulder, but I’m also 5’10” so it looks proportional, I think. It’s mostly brown with a few sunny highlights, so it’s not like I’m rockin long platinum hair. I’m kind of hanging on to what I’ve got because it seems to me like everyone in DC does the shoulder-length-medium-brown-hair thing, and I’d rather not be a clone.

      Does anyone have strong feelings about hair on younger professional women, or women’s hair in DC?

      • Your hair sounds fine to me. If you want shorter, darker hair, you’re probably fine with that, too. Frankly, the reason everyone in DC has just-past-shoulder-length-brown-hair (guilty) is that we’re a group that’s neither fashion-forward nor completely backward. As long as your hair isn’t green and spikey, you’re probably fine.

      • Oh, you’re the student from NM? We will have to have a meetup again while you’re in DC.

        Wear your hair however you want. Long hair is fine. I wouldn’t use a fake color, but if your hair color looks natural, it’s fine.

        • And by “fake” I meant a hair color that does not occur in nature, not a color that isn’t naturally your own.

        • 2/3 attorney :

          Yes I am, and yes we should!

      • Your hair sounds great to me. I think DC is less open to really wild variations (crayola colors, punky cuts), but also less uptight about the details of a few inches or highlights, than other cities. There are lots of long-haired women about, and lots of women with highlights or color. Rep. Mack, for example.

      • THIS. Still a law student, but am always being told I need to “look older” if I ever want a job. The suggestion I’m always given is that I should cut my hair into a “professional” style. I have dark brown hair that is, as above, between my shoulders and bra strap, and straight. Not sure what to as to make it more professional other than to go shorter? Not sure I want to cut my hair just to appear older. FWIW, I still get carded at rated-R movies, so probably wouldn’t help anyways.

      • karenpadi :

        At 26 (in California), I did a shoulder length bob that turned into a chin length bob a few months later. It was pretty cute. I had a hair stylist I trusted and we did all kinds of layers and bangs depending on my mood, the time of year, and what I had for lunch.

        Short hair is fun because it grows back in a seemingly short period of time (e.g., when I grew out my bangs, they only had to grow 3 inches to match the length of the rest of my hair instead of 9 or 10 inches).

  5. I don’t have kids so maybe I’m wrong, but I imagine that if I’d just had either my ladyparts or my stomach sliced up and my hormones were raging, plus there was a small person depending on my upper ladyparts for food, then yes, I would need some time off work no matter how rich I was.

    • Also, the author of that piece on Hillary Clinton’s hair comes off as nothing more than a catty you-know-what. Oh, you don’t like long hair on women over 40? Clearly, women over 40 everywhere should accommodate your preferences! To the salon, ladies1

      • It makes me really angry that she thought this column was worth writing in any way, shape, or form. I’m so sick of reading anything, positive or negative or constructive, about Madame Secretary’s appearance. I don’t give a sh*t — can’t state this strongly enough — about her hair and make-up choices. Please, Ms. Chen, enlighten me on your thoughts about the male politicians’ hair choices, whether they have the right touch of gray or not, and whether their ties are appropriately staid. What? You don’t have an opinion on that because IT’S ENTIRELY IRRELEVANT? Well, then.

        Sorry for the rant. I’m in quite the mood today.

        • Research, Not Law :

          Co-sign. I’m very over the “no long hair after 40” idea AND the talk of Clinton’s appearance. Frankly, I think she looks pretty darn good. Secondly, it’s mean. Thirdly, it’s her job to be a competent SoS, not a fashion icon.

          And yes, this column was particularly catty.

        • Honey Pillows :

          I think the texts from Hillary meme summed it up. She’s so [email protected], it seems ridiculous to even consider critiquing her wardrobe/looks.

    • I also don’t have kids, but I’m with you on the need for some time just to let the body heal.

    • Research, Not Law :

      I’m guessing she doesn’t plan on nursing/pumping, but we’re not BFFs or anything. I personally can’t imagine returning to work so soon, even if I did have all the help in the world. You spend 9 months creating this little person and need time to meet them and cherish them. That said, on the employment front, maternity leave is a challenge. It’s very hard to walk away for 12 weeks and have everything be fine, and I’m not even remotely on the level of CEO.

      I haven’t heard what she plans on doing, exactly. If she’s going to be taking two weeks off completely, checking in remotely as-needed from 2-6 weeks, then coming in more at 6 weeks, it doesn’t seem so crazy. Quite do-able, actually. If she plans to be back full time at two weeks, well, she’s crazy and good luck to her.

      • Yeah, I think being available but not at the office for 6 weeks counts as a maternity leave and it’s perfectly reasonable for a high-powered woman to have to be available even when she’s on “leave”. She can always have people come to her house for meetings. But labor requires more than a week or two of recovery – of course some sort of leave is necessary.

      • Of Counsel :

        Everyone’s different. I remember reading in junior high school of nomadic women who stopped to give birth, cut the umbilical cord, and then caught up with their group members.

        I don’t have kids, either, and I probably would prefer to spend some time with my kid, but a preference is different from a need.

        Having a kid, especially with great support, is not an unfathomable challenge for everyone.

    • Yes! All the nannies in the world will not change the fact that your just presented a baby to the world. And now your body is very tired. And many health issues arise during and after childbirth, such as post-partum depression, thyroid issues, etc. It’s not a great time to be jumping back into CEO-hood after a long weekend.

      • Anonymouse :

        My big question about this woman is, “WHY THE HELL DOES EVERY SINGLE WOMAN ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH THINK IT IS HER BUSINESS TO COMMENT ON ANOTHER WOMAN’S CHOICES???” Because I thought feminism meant that I could finally make my own damn decisions without your input. KThx.

        • Ok, you’re totally right. She can do whatever she wants, and her choice is not fair game for all of us to criticize. I was really responding to Kat’s question of: Do CEOs, with many nannies, need maternity leave?

          • Me too – I meant to answer Kat’s question, not to comment on Marissa Meyer’s choices specifically.

    • Yes to this. I have a full-time nanny and need every day of my 19 week leave. Babies are needy. And I have post partum hormones.

  6. Honey Pillows :

    The NYT article profiles numerous high-powered women willingly forgoing maternity leave, brushing off the stress and strain of childbirth and recovery as just another challenge. Is anyone else as supremely bothered by this as I am?

    If we want women to have the legitimate option to take time off and physically recover from pushing a watermelon out of their lady gardens, not to mention recover from the mental and emotional toll of creating a life, shouldn’t the powerful women of the world be making a point to set an example, and demand leave for themselves and their employees?

    I feel like the Marissa Mayer trend is just setting us up for even less maternity leave than we have now, and punishing the women who don’t have magical hoo-has that drop babies like gumballs in a gas station machine. Am I off base?

    • Her personal decision doesn’t bother me. I think it’s kind of idiotic, but that’s probably why I’m not a high-powered CEO. I think the problem is that expectations for women are such that we’re expected to be completely perfect and working to the utter limitations of our abilities at every single moment. What the Marissa Mayers of the world do should not have any bearing on the rest of us, but yet in the media narrative, it does. I’m sure there are high-powered men who refuse to take time off after, say, a heart attack, but are there newspaper articles written about how men just shouldn’t get time off work after heart attacks? Of course not. And I don’t really see a difference here. Women should get adequate maternity leave, full stop. We should also be able to choose whether or not to avail ourselves of it without that reflecting on the entitlement itself.

    • I agree with you completely. I’ve made this comment before, but I really really really hope she doesn’t hold her female employees to the same standards as herself because that would be a huge step backwards, IMO.

    • Research, Not Law :

      “What the Marissa Mayers of the world do should not have any bearing on the rest of us, but yet in the media narrative, it does.” YES!

      This is what concerns me, too. I’m not a CEO. I don’t have the responsibilities, the income, the priorities of a CEO. I don’t like the assumption that I should be using a CEO’s maternity leave as a guide to my own. I recently returned from my (second) 12-wk maternity leave, and I don’t appreciate feeling like I indulged in an unnecessary luxury or undedicated to my career.

      I just heard that a coworker has been working on her maternity leave. She has a two-week old preemie. I don’t know her motivation, but I don’t like the sense that we should be pushing ourselves so far. (Men recovering from heart attacks included).

      • Of Counsel :

        People should be able to take care of themselves, but I worked at a firm where it was a badge of honor for a woman lawyer to put her child into fetal distress and a man lawyer to work for several weeks with walking pneumonia. One made partner, I don’t know what happened to the other.

    • Completely agree, and have been shocked by the number of my professional women friends who disagree and think that the only thing that matters is that a pregnant woman was hired as CEO.

  7. Research, Not Law :

    The conflicting articles on female breadwinners (women are happier, women are not happier) is interesting, but neither article is particularly impressive. Maybe I have a different response, since I am the family breadwinner and everything seemed really obvious to me. The WSJ piece made all the couples seem whiny.

  8. locomotive :

    Where do you ladies go to get french cuff shirts? I just received a pair of beautiful cuff links as a present (they are rectangular with blue swarovski crystals in a line) but have no shirt to wear them with. i have tried brooks brothers and thomas pink, but both have limited sizing for women’s french cuff shirts. I am 5’2″ (thus short arms!) so the sleeves in non-petite sizes are way too long. Any other places to look?

    • Try Anne Fontaine is there is a store in your city. Unfortunately they don’t have an online store yet. The shirts are expensive but are well made. If you’re lucky, they will have some on sale.

    • Alain figaret

    • TM Lewin do lovely shirts with French cuffs.

  9. Merabella :

    Awkward moment in the office. My phone just whistled at me. This is what happens when you don’t know how to work your new phone. What does the whistle even mean? Is my phone cat calling me?

    • SugarMagnolia :

      Your phone is sexually harassing you. I can recommend a good lawyer.

    • Did the previous occupant of your office set it to whistle as its ring tone? Some landline phones let you choose a ring tone.

      • Merabella :

        Haha, this is my new cell phone. That would have been terrifying and awesome though if my office phone did this.

    • It’s the corporette app. You must look stunning today. I wouldn’t opt to put it on vibrate though…

  10. All of this maternity leave and work-and-family stuff got me to thinking:

    Although I have a job, it is a profit center that functions like a very small business. I worked through each maternity leave much like I would have had I not been on leave (but remotely and in comfy clothes). It all worked out. But what if it hadn’t? What if I had had an extreme premie who had had to stay in the hospital? What if I had had complications? What if I get hit by a car on my way home and am out of commission for a while?

    The inability to have redundancy or even a pause button is making me think of throwing in the towel (not today, but long-term) and transitioning to a field where when I am at work, when I’m not I’m not, and there is redundancy so that someone can step in for Life Events. [And nursing, I’m looking at you. Yeah, I’d have to go back to school, but I’m approaching the Sick Parent / Spousal Heart Attack years and want a plan B for when the inevitable occurs.]

    Has anyone else thought through this?

    • karenpadi :

      Yes. I think it’s crazy that we work ourselves so hard (with no vacations!). I am going to work full-time for a few more years then step back and go part-time. Part-time will probably be about 30 hours/week and that’s still close enough to full-time to bother me.

      I’m working now to prepare for that time–stock up the retirement fund, pay down debt, build equity in house, minimize expenses, and take care of myself.

      I think when Obamacare takes effect in 2014 and health insurance is under control, we’ll see a lot of “high powered” professionals do something like this.

  11. People can choose to work however they want, take maternity leave if they want… but the American work ethic that is turning women into ‘who worked harder?’ contestants is making me nauseous. The last job I had at an unpleasant corporation, the women executives were the ones knocking themselves out with long hours, bragging about being there until 10:00pm, never taking time off. The male executives would calmly announce their plans to leave early, or take a few days off, etc. And never bat an eye. I know this has been argued endlessly, but until we ALL agree this is madness, we will continue having work places we do not want our daughters to work in. Maybe there are offices where men are working just as hard, I just haven’t seen it.

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