Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Beauty Q&A: Miss Fancy Pants Goes to Work

1. I spent most of college and grad school slowly accumulating a wardrobe for my career. This led to my having a lot of really excellent pencil skirts, blazers, sensible shoes, blouses, work-y dresses, etc... I have finally found a job that I love but the department I work in is CASUAL. As in, I look like a highfalutin Fancy Pants in dark jeans, a blouse and a cardigan.

I hate opening my closet every morning and bypassing all my nice clothes for things I'd normally just wear bumming around the house but also I don't want to stick out like a sore, overdressed thumb. Any tips on dressing down my business causal wardrobe to be more casual?

You went to grad school and subsequently found a job that you love? That is kind of extraordinary and we're all jealous. I'm into you and your predicament, but —  and this rarely happens — I am suspicious of your question. Even if you did want help figuring out how to dress down, I certainly wouldn't be the person you'd come running to for help with that, right? ("Put some diamonds on it!" — textbook Jane.) And it sounds like you already have it figured out anyway: wear whatever you bum around the house in. (Again, what is with the houseclothes?!) So, I could be wrong, but what I think you're asking — subconsciously, maybe — is if it's okay to be dressed "better" than everyone else at work and how to not worry about it.

Of course it's fine! They hired you in that outfit, right? For all you know, management is engineering a grand conspiracy to whip everyone's work wardrobes into shape and it starts with you. What's the worst that could happen, some judgypants are like "She's SO POMPOUS AND RICH, ugh," when in fact you are down-to-earth and got these outfits by being careful and frugal? I think you should practice letting folks be wrong about you. Did you know everyone is judging you unfairly all day, every day? But only if there's time left over after they're done worrying about themselves and what you're thinking of their sweatshirt. That is why we start friendships with people, so we can stop imagining everything that's wrong with them and find out what's REALLY wrong with them, which is always so much jucier. Don't go out and spend money on clothes you're not happy with just to help people stop making up what they're currently making up in their heads about you because it WILL be replaced with something else. ("Oh my god, did you notice Fancy Pants Renee suddenly started dressing kind of... schlubby? I wonder what happened. She was here for like a month and completely fell apart! She probably got dumped and is in a really dark place. Although the yoga pants might just be from that yoga class she takes before work now, which, gross, take a shower and put on some fresh duds. You have to hand it to her, though, it is admirable for someone who's depressed to get up and do yoga that early in the morning, but one can accomplish a lot on Adderall. Then again, I heard the breakup happened after she got caught boning the instructor, so...") 

Now, if this situation were reversed — if all you had were terry track suits, but you landed a job somewhere that required a pencil skirt — I would be giving you the opposite advice. "Spend! Spend!" Some of you are thinking right now that I'm being a hypocrite (yes!). Which brings me too my next point...

The rules of etiquette state that overdressing is usually okay, and underdressing is not. Exceptions: wearing black tie to a casual wedding, or looking fancier than a bride or an award recipient or another guest of honor. Don't steal the show and hurt people with your clothes, but otherwise do not worry about it and do you. If you wanna be the lady who wears a three piece suit to work the cash register, that just makes you awesome and A Character in the neighborhood. People might think you're a little eccentric, which is far preferable to them thinking they caught you sleeping. I used to work at a place where some people DID sleep in their cubes because of the long hours, so jeans and fleece-y things and sensible shoes reigned. But there were two guys who did it UP everyday. I'm talking pocket squares and hats with feathers in them. Nobody snickered, we just admired their gusto. (You thought I was gonna say "swag" but I don't say "swag!")

As long as you're not in a position where you'll possibly ruin your nice clothes by wearing them to work, there's nothing wrong with dressing in the lovely wardrobe you already own. Just practice saying "Thank you" with a smile when people comment on how nice you look, again. Orrr, trade the blouse in your jeans/blouse/cardigan uniform for a tank top or t-shirt, and add some hideous mules. Advice!

2. I have oily/watery eyes, which means I have trouble keeping my eye makeup in place. I think I may have finally got the mascara part down — Maybelline's Full 'N Soft waterproof seems to do the trick, and I can even take a nap in it without it running. My biggest issue currently seems to be eyeliner. An hour or two after lining only my upper lids, it winds up all smeary below my eyes, and I have to repeatedly wipe it away throughout the day. It also has a tendency to make its way into the creases of my upper lids. I've tried a number of different brands, as well as just using eye shadow. No dice. Recently, I started wearing contacts, which has made this situation even worse.

YOU! STOP! Put down the pencil eyeliner! I have a three-step fix, any part of which you may have tried already, but please try them in combination:

Step 1: Wash your face before doing your makeup. A lot of us wash our faces before bed, but then we feel tired and lazy and don't do it again in the morning before we apply makeup. (And no, standing in the shower and washing your hair is not the same as washing your face.) If I were you, I'd get a cleanser to combat oily skin. If you still feel the grease coming on quickly, try a mattifying primer all over your face before step two.

Step 2: Use an industrial-strength eyeshadow primer. The most intense one I've ever tried is Urban Decay's Eyeshadow Primer Potion. I hate how intensely it grabs onto makeup, so it might be perfect for you. Be sure to get one of the tubes with a matte finish.

Step 3: Line your eyes with a waterproof gel liner. You'll use a brush like this to get it in there. Smashbox has this on lock with their waterproof Jet Set Eye Liner. Wait for it to dry completely before opening your eyes all the way so you don't transfer it into your crease.

I promise your eyeliner will stay where it's supposed to for... at least four hours if not 16, as long as you keep your paws off your eyes. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES.

3. Jane! I love painting my nails, but since winter began they have been looking rough. They are splitting and chipping more than usual, and generally resembling my grandmother's more than I would prefer, despite my moisturizing and vitamin efforts. Because of this I have been going au naturale, but should I be using at least a base coat to protect my nails? Or do the drying effects of nail polish remover negate any of these benefits? Do nails need to breathe? Is there an instruction manual for bodies that I missed? Please help save me from myself/old lady hands!

Nails are so... weird! Everyone's has a different kind with different problems, kind of like hair. So, no, there is no manual, but common sense and trial-and-error go a long way here. What we can guess from your symptoms is that you're suffering from winter dryness. Before we even talk about your nails specifically, do these things:

– Drink more water

– Run a humidifier next to your bed while you sleep

– Wear gloves when you go out into the cold winter air

That might be all you need to get back on your nail game, but you won't know for weeks, so in the meantime let's try some nail-specific remedies. If you're moisturizing at least twice a day already, great. I like Egyptian Magic lately for my hands — I put it on right before bed and before I leave the house, but get whichever intense hand cream or balm appeals to you. Do you like pretending to be a farmer? This Mane 'n Tail Hoofmaker is one of my grandmother's picks, along with Corn Huskers Lotion.

Next, use a nail and cuticle oil daily. You're looking for one that contains Vitamin E. Sally Hansen, of course, makes a few and so does everyone else. I prefer Solar Oil — it's got the vitamins you're looking for, it soaks in pretty quickly, and it smells nice to me. You can find it at the drugstore.

Finally, to protect your nails from cracking and peeling, I would recommend some sort of polish. I know a lot of people are gonna be like, "GEL, DUH!!!" but I hate it. If chemicals and dryness and nailbed damage are truly a concern, gel nails are not the right solution for you. Just use a clear polish for now and you'll rarely have to use remover: keep applying the clear on top of clear once or twice a week until the polish becomes discolored near the tips of your nails or begins to peel off. I can usually go at least two weeks without removing Nail Envy, but I know people are skerred of that stuff, so if you are among them, try this other horsey product that is formaldehyde and a bunch of other junk-free, Horse Power Nail Strengthener by Butter.

And finally, if you're opposed to polish, this nail buffer from Revlon will give you shine and a finished look without chemicals.

You know what would be really sweet? If you'd spend the next few years doing a controlled experiment for us. First, move to Antarctica. They're always hiring! While you're there, try each of these recommendations by themselves for a few weeks and write down your findings. Then, try them in combination. ALL the combinations. Then try them all at once and give us a detailed report that we'll call "The Instruction Manual for Nails." Here is how to do science:

Previously: Shells, Bra Purses, and The Next New 'Do.

Do you have a question for Jane?

285 Comments / Post A Comment


LW2: I recently discovered eyeko skinny liquid eyeliner through my birchbox subscription and it works like a charm! On days when I don't want to look too made-up, I line the waterline of my upper lid only. It hasn't smeared for me yet! I generally also apply urban decay primer, because it holds my makeup really well and brightens me eyes. Gel eyeliner is good for a bolder look, but for simplicity and ease, try the eyeko! It's available at Sephora, too (at least online).


@BosomBuddy Liquid eyeliner on the waterline?! Please teach me how! I tried it once and my eyes teared FOREVER


@BosomBuddy yes!! i logged in just to talk about the eyeko stuff, i got mine from the checkout section bundled with a mascara. its unlike anything ive ever used. as a big cryer (weepy sobbing really) it stays 100% put and dries kind of... vinyl-ish? i dont know. only comes in black though.


@Aroosak This particular brand of liquid eyeliner makes it easy. Otherwise, I line the waterline with pencil. Or when I want a heavier look, with gel liner.

I pull my upper lid upwards with my non-dominant hand, lean in close to the mirror and apply the eyeliner in small strokes directly onto the waterline. Doing it slowly, carefully and precisely is key. So is practice. Practice doing it for shits and giggles instead of when you want to go out. Try not to poke your eye (I used to do this all the time). I also take quick breaks to blink. I never draw a line in one fell swoop - I don't know if others do, but I can't manage that.

My magical formula: eyeko skinny eyeliner + 1 minute with the mirror.


@itsureiswindy It doesn't only come in black! You can buy it in a few other colours through birchbox and sephora.


@itsureiswindy Really? I got it in my birchbox in purple.


@BosomBuddy Eyeko is amazing! I also got it through my BirchBox. The felt tip is the easiest to apply! I would also heartily recommend Bobbie Brown long-wear gel eyeliner. It comes in tons of colors - my favorite is Ivy Shimmer. I know Jane has also suggested it in this column before. You apply it with a brush, so only slightly trickier than Eyeko. I can wear that shit going out at night then all the next day and it looks perfect.

(Yes, what I'm admitting is I not only don't wash my face every single night, I'll sometimes stretch Friday night makeup into Saturday afternoon, but I spend a lot of money and time on make up so it feels economical and it looks fine!) (Please tell me I'm not alone in this)

Scary Wollstonecraft

@BosomBuddy Eyeko sounds great! I've had similar-sounding, good experiences with this: http://tartecosmetics.com/tarte-item-multiplEYE-lash-enhancing-liquid-eyeliner


@Pygmalion I got it too, but I... can't make it work? I fail forever at liquid eyeliner. I just got it all over my lids, generally, and drew nothing remotely akin to "lines".


@sparrow303 Maybe this will help: pull your upper lid upwards and place small dots of eyeliner in between your lashes, then fill in between those spaces. I think of it as colouring the space between my lashes. It's awkward and uncomfortable at first. When I'm finished there is no visible trace of eyeliner on my upper lid, so, there is no line at all. I don't know if this helps at all, but for everyday purposes, I never touch my lids with eyeliner. I just fill in the lashes (the lashline??) and add mascara. I can't remember where I picked up this tip (maybe on the 'pin), but if I do, I'll post it here.


@BosomBuddy. I got Eyeko through Birchbox too and WOW do I love it. It takes some practice, yes, but I work at a place where there's no one for me to impress, so I can trial-and-error it up all day. I can go running at the end of the day, and the Eyeko does not smear or budge despite the sweat. Love it!


@BosomBuddy I love the eyeko liner, I also got it from Birchbox! Though my favorite non pencil liner is the Bobbi Brown gel liner. It goes on like a breeze (buy their liner brush), the jar lasts forever, and it does NOT smudge one bit. It's pretty magical. Not cheap, but worth it. Just don't do what I do sometimes and leave the top off the jar and then it dries out and you cry.


@sparrow303 I usually draw short, thin lines as close to the lash line as possible and connect them, then widen the line gradually towards the edge of the eye, then do a little wing. When I mess up a bit I just make the line bigger and call it a dramatic cat eye haha


@Pygmalion @BosomBuddy Thank you, I will try these things! I love eyeliner and wear it every day (in pencil form), so I really want to master liquid for special occasions.


I would had used distilled water.@y


I have oily eyelids and I like Almay's Bright Eyes concealer/primer, with Tarte eyeliner. I like a very thin eyeliner so I usually put it on right after the primer and then smudge over it with my shadow, which seems to get it to stay put pretty well.


@bitchycrosstownexpress Yes, I also swear by eyelid primer. I have had success with Bare Minerals but it ran out really fast. Currently I am using the Urban Decay like in the article. I got a massive tube on holiday special so it will last forever.

Also, I swear by eyeliner sealer. Bare Minerals makes one, but there are others. I can't use liquid liner successfully, so that's my solution.


For me, putting on nail polish = weeks of flaking, cracking, weak nails, even if I use a fancy basecoat, so I refuse to believe that adding polish to weak nails is ever a good idea. Don't do it. Let them heal.

Judith Slutler

@MilesofMountains I was gonna say. Just buff them maybe!


@MilesofMountains Agreed. It's been about 2 years since I regularly polished my nails, and they are far, far stronger/happier than they were before. I also second Jane's rec for vitamin E oil (though I just buy it at TJs)


@MilesofMountains Just goes to show that everyone's nails are different. Mine are very bendy and peely, but if I keep 'em polished and eat vitamins, I can get them in pretty good shape! But if I stop wearing polish, they go back to sucking.

Nicole Cliffe

I did Jane's OPI Nail Envy regimen, and now they look amazing until I get periodically frustrated by having nails and file them down to stubs.


@Nicole Cliffe What is this regimen? Do I buy all the Nail Envy products and use them until I like the results, or did you have a tried-and-true routine? I'm a peel/bumpy/divoty/weak with horribly dry cuticles that I (like to?) pick. I can keep them nice for a few days post-manicure (which I do myself) but, after the first couple of chips, all bets are off.


@misskaz speaking of vitamins, it IS true that prenatal vitamins will make your nails grow/get stronger. But they will also do the same for your hair. ALL of your hair.


@Emmanuelle Cunt

I try not to buff nail splits too much. They look nice at first but as the shine wears away, those microscopic edges where the nail is split just start peeling again.

My other must have advice? Don't do dishes (or any major cleaning-type tasks) without wearing gloves. Dish soap, after all, is made to strip grease off dishes. It will do the same to the skin on your hands and strip all natural moisture out of your nails. Healthy skin (esp cuticles) aid in growing healthy nails. And soaking nails for long periods in water(especially with cleaning chemicals) softens them and makes them more prone to breaking. A 5 minute shower is one thing. Scrubbing yesterday's egg yolk off the stovetop, rinsing dishes, and washing down the counter is another.


@MilesofMountains See, for me putting on polish strengthens my nails, mostly because when my nails are in a peely, cracky mood, they drive me crazy and make me fiddle with them and peel them until they're even worse. When I have polish on them, I don't touch them (until the polish peels off), and that way they can get stronger on their own.

Daisy Razor

Can "gusto" replace "swag"? Please? PLEASE?

And for everyone tempted to try crayola-hair after the last Beauty Q&A, Fab has an interesting sale on now. Has anyone tried this brand? It looks less messy than the spray on temporary colors.

does it need saying

@Daisy Razor Ooh, this looks pretty cool.


Aw, fancypants, embrace your awesome closet! I'm in the sciences, so the usual wardrobe of the people around me tends towards sport sandals, t-shirts, and fleece jackets. I still wear my poofy vintage dresses and pencil skirts and metallic shoes, and why not? I get occasional "wow, you're so dressed up!" comments, but I don't think there are any significant negative reactions. Anyone who'd seriously judge you for wearing nice-ish clothes is a jerk, anyway.


@crocuta I love it when people waaay overdress for work! I work in the public sector (boring business casual is the norm) and when I see someone wearing vintage or bright colour combos, I get really excited and happy - totally brightens my day. Thanks LW1 and crocuta and people like you!!

Theda Baranowski

@maritimah Ditto, I work in banking in the Midwest, and my office is apparently the land of khakis and sober business casual.

Today I am wearing blindingly bright teal tights with my black dress and black ankle boots. (They match my turqoise necklace.)


@crocuta YES! I'm a lab tech, and I wear pencil skirts or dresses all the time. As long as I wear closed-toed shoes, no one cares. It's nice to be known as the person who dresses up.


@crocuta Every few weeks as an undergrad I'd get the urge to get dressed up to go to class. Never heard anything other than "looking good, Bittersweet." Of course, that was back in the Napoleonic Era when "business casual" didn't mean "jeans with no holes in them." /old person crotchety outburst


@crocuta Same here! I work for a small game developer, where many of my coworkers are having a good day if their shirts have no holes. When I first started working there, showing up in skirts and heels, I got a few slightly confused questions like "Got big plans tonight?" After a while, everybody just accepted it as how I am.

Miss Kitty Fantastico

@crocuta yes! I work for a non-profit and everyone is BORING. But today I am wearing leopard print pants with a black sweater and a neon-green rhinestone necklace, with hot pink lipstick. I love dressing up & if you act like it's regular, everyone else will act like it's regular!

Adult Footie Pajamas

@crocuta Just co-siging this too. I'm a floral designer, and I get water and dirt and oasis foam on everything. It's also cold and slippery where I work, but there's no reason not to choose the waterproof coat in a fun color or print. (Or to accessorize the hell out of a black one.) I decided a while ago that if you can't wear your clothes to do the thing you do, you don't own them, they own you. So I make it work and use my washing machine a lot. The point is: dress your bravest, truest self, and you will be your bravest, truest self.


@Madeline Shoes Oh man I want a picture of this outfit so bad!


@iceberg Me too! It sounds like something Jenna Lyons would style.


@crocuta Yes, Fancy Pants--just do it! I have a fairly casual office too, as long as you're not a sloppy mess (though I've seen things...), and I could easily be jeans and band t-shirts and cardigans and boots. But then I'd have nowhere really to wear all my dresses and tights and stuff I love! (And, after last week's thread, I have applied my bright blue Manic Panic and it's awesome!)

@Madeline Shoes @Theda Baranowski Those sound lovely! Thumbs up!


@Madeline Shoes Your outfit sounds so cute! Leopard pants for the win!

can't get there from here

@crocuta i work with almost all 20-something guys and the general air when i started was jeans and sweatshirts. I have always put a lot into my outfits, and didnt stop at work. I just teased everyone else about how shlubby they looked and lo and behold, the dress standard actually did slowly get better. We're a small office, but still. I was pretty happy about it.

fondue with cheddar

At my high school, the manager/supervisor (I assume) of the custodial staff wore a skirtsuit, pearls, and high heels to work every day. Sometimes she would mop the floor, and would occasionally kneel on the floor to clean. She was clearly overdressed for the job and some kids made fun of her, but she brought a dignity to the job that I thought was really cool.


@fondue with cheddar yes! this reminded me of a sweeper at my high school. He wore dress pants and buttoned down shirts and the we called him "el formal" ("the formal guy"). I think we all felt that he did his job with dignity and enthusiasm and he was the coolest.


@fondue with cheddar In my hometown, there was a hotdog/hamburger lunch counter run by a Greek woman who wore a skirt suit and high heels every day. She did everything the counter staff did (dress hotdogs, make hamburgers, serve drinks). I should also mention that she was in her 70s when I used to go there. She lived to be 90-something and had pitch black hair and a giant Cadillac until the day she died.

fondue with cheddar

@Mariajoseh @datalass Great stories! I love all these people. :)

I know I'm getting off on a tangent here, but I just have to share the fact that we had a custodian at my middle school who we called Gargamel because that's who he looked like. He was probably cool but I never talked to him because it might have ruined the magic. Though in hindsight he probably looked more like Abe Lincoln without the beard.

Jane Marie

@datalass Can I be her?

Jane Marie

@fondue with cheddar Please tell me he wore a monk's robe?

fondue with cheddar

@Jane Marie I wish he did! We all assumed he had an orange cat at home.


@Jane Marie The final test: if you gathered three of your closest friends for a weekly bridge game, would you first stop and pick up two hotdogs for each of them?


"That is why we start friendships with people, so we can stop imagining everything that's wrong with them and find out what's REALLY wrong with them, which is always so much jucier" JANEEEE <3

honey cowl

@Mariajoseh I KNOW

Judith Slutler

Also can I put in a vote for LW1 just wearing what she wants to wear. It's pretty easy to tone down outfits just a bit through accessory choices, subtler makeup, and maybe lower heels / flats and you don't have to give up on blouses and pencil skirts! But also, "dress for the job you want to have" right?

RK Fire

@Emmanuelle Cunt I am cosigning, but partly because I ended up doing the same thing when I went from working in a DC nonprofit to a not-DC nonprofit. It was a massive shift in wardrobe and work culture.


@Emmanuelle Cunt And if the job I want is a yoga pants and fleece pullover kind of job...?


@blueblazes You should probably move to either Maine or the Pacific Northwest. IT or Vampires, your choice.


@Ophelia This is hilarious. I live in Portland. I feel like I am the only content manager on the I-5 corridor who wears dress pants every day.


@Ophelia I work at a non-profit in a mountain town and we had a massive dress code battle over what form of "adventure sandals" were appropriate for work.


LW1: I've been working and (arguably) overdressing for more than a decade and just like Jane said, it's fine. Great even. It helps if you can keep it up on the occasions when people see you outside work because it just reinforces that it's not something you're doing to show them up, it's just fancy you wearing your nice things. People get used to it and I honestly believe even kind of enjoy it.

Reginal T. Squirge

Word. I wear a suit to the office every day and I'm the only one that does it. People get used to it and fuck them if they don't.


@datalass My last office was very casual, and a male friend/coworker once mused that he could never get away with going to a job interview on a work day, because everyone would know what was up when he showed up to the office wearing a suit. My boss even asked me once, when I was wearing a dress that was nicely tailored instead of sundress-y, if I had an interview (he was half-joking, but secretly not really). It's nice to at least mix in fancier clothes so it's not so jarring if you ever need to dress up one day for some reason.


The other thing is that I think it's pretty easy for people to figure out when a coworker is showing some style because he/she likes clothing/enjoys doing it vs. somebody who is doing it to endear him/herself to the big bosses, etc.

At my old job (which was business casual), one guy tried to institute Suit Tuesdays or something. I tried to get on board with it, but he was such an obvious sycophant, I just couldn't.


@datalass I have a Brother in Law who instigated Formal Friday at his office, rather than casual friday.
He's not a sycophant - he just really has a thing for suits.


@datalass We use to do "formal friday" at a cafe I worked at. It was a lot of fun to get dressed up, but hard to find nice clothes you didn't mind getting coffee grounds all over.


I don't usually read these things because ladies fashion advice is about as useful to me as a shit-flavored lollipop, but I'm glad I did because the Look Around You series is the BEST THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD and I'm so happy to see it referenced here!


@Emby How to Be a Girl is more than just pretty li'l ol' faces.


What are birds?

Pound of Salt

@laurel Or pretty li'l oily faces


@frigwiggin WE JUST DON'T KNOW


@branza "whiskey is a pleasant-tasting, thirst-quenching drink, and it's enjoyed by all"

The Water episode is easily my favorite. Thanks Ants. Thants.


@Brunhilde Also, if you guys have never found www.thanksants.com you should go there now.


@Brunhilde Thanks Brunhilde...



@Brunhilde OMG you are fantastic and I love you forever.


@Brunhilde This is amazing, I've just spent the last half hour putting in the names of everyone I know.


Thank you, Jane, for posting the calcium video. It warmed my little former-chemistry-major heart and made me giggle.


Mad props for the "Look Around You". I have every episode. <3

Dirty Hands

LW1, I wear skirts all the time, started to in high school, and at first people were all like "what's the occasion?" but then they got used to it and I still got to feel presentable by my personal standards/stylish. It's your life, and really, unless you're playing with kids in the mud or something, a bit of formality rocks!


@Dirty Hands
I am the same way. In fact, if I show up some place in jeans people are all like 'what's the occasion?' I dunno. Partly when shopping (lazy) I generally don't have to try skirt/dresses on - and with jeans I do. Also, I have a big butt and I can not lie. Skirts - more flattering.


@Dirty Hands Agreed! I got called "Posh Spice" a few times by my baggy jean-ed friends. It only added fuel to my fashionable fire.


@Dirty Hands Yes! In the winter, my uniform is
Cardigan and tank top OR sweater, usually black or grey
Pencil skirt, usually black
Tights, any color
Ankle boots.

Sometimes people ask why I'm so dressed up (like if I'm at an early morning coffee date, or, last night, a late night Wawa run). But it's just what I wear-like wearing jeans, to me, really.

Dirty Hands

@Beericle I think it's truly tragic that jeans are now considered fancy pants. Leggings have their place and it is the gymnasium!

RK Fire

On mules: how do you all feel about Danskos? I am thinking about buying a basic pair (probably the Professional, probably in black unless they have charcoal grey) to wear with suits, dress pants, and with nice jeans to casual networking events. But I know some people think that they're kind of schlubby and orthopedic looking... should I just soldier on anyway and just get them? I think they're kinda cute, so maybe something is just off with my head. My feet are kind of narrow though, so maybe that's why they don't seem so awkwardly large to me.

I am growing to dislike heels on principle, and usually stick to flats. However, I need some shoes to wear when it gets below freezing, like it has in Baltimore the past week. I know Danksos technically have heels but they seem to be the closest I can get to a shoe that will cover my entire foot and be appropriate to wear with fancy pants. Yes, fancy pants.


@RK Fire Danskos have no traction, so I find that they don't make terribly good winter shoes. They are super-comfy, though.

RK Fire

@bocadelperro This is a very good point. Most fashion boots don't have fantastic traction though, right? Crap, I spent half of this weekend looking at ankle boots and Danskos online and I never thought about traction.


@RK Fire I have a pair of Enzo Angiolini equestrian style boots very similar to these: http://tinyurl.com/9wwhbrb (mine are from a few years ago) that work fairly well in the general ice/snow of Northern Europe, although they're not super well insulated.


@RK Fire the problem with Danskos is that they look all orthopedic, but they aren't. It's actually pretty easy to roll your foot and sprain your ankle in them. That means you're wearing a clunky, not so pretty shoe AND injuring yourself. That's a lose-lose in my book. I trashed mine after my umpteenth injury in them.


@curlysue I agree. The reason I know that danskos are not good winter shoes is because I may have rolled my ankle, lost my balance and crash landed on my face while walking down the street during a light snowfall.


@curlysue That's because they aren't really meant to be "walking shoes," they are standing shoes--for chefs and cashiers and nurses and the like, who are indoors usually on totally flat surfaces. Rolling and tipping only happens to me when I am on uneven ground, like gravel or uneven bricks etc. Just defending the clogs I love to hell and back, nothing personal!

RK Fire

Oh god, I'm so glad I asked you guys about Danskos. I've sprained both my ankles enough times playing rugby, it doesn't need to happen while I'm walking down the street. (And with my coordination, it could.)

Also, thanks for all of the shoe suggestions!! <3


@RK Fire Would these be an acceptable dansko substitute? Not the most fashion-forward, but probably a thick enough sole for winter w/out the big clompy heel that leads to disaster:



@Ophelia I rolled the ever-loving shit out of my ankles in Clarks--oh my god, they were the worst shoes I've ever owned. I threw them in a dumpster walking home because of the rolling issues.


@RK Fire Supposedly real Danskos have addressed this design flaw, but my experience with the fakies is that it's really easy to just roll your ankle/fall the hell off them.

RK Fire

@Ophelia Thanks for the suggestion but those aren't quite my taste.. however, being reminded of Clarks did lead me to these in black which are kind of exciting because they seem to have a decent sole (?) but also because they look nice.

I haven't decided if I'm completely sold on the grown up velcro shoe look, but I think that most of the time it's going to be hidden by pants anyway.

RK Fire

@parallel-lines I am really starting to wonder about all of our ankles. Ankle braces for everyone?


@RK Fire If you do decide to buy Danskos, which I do love and found great when I lived in Baltimore, take a road trip up to West Grove, PA and save yourself some money! The store is amazing and has pretty good selection in clogs, sandals, and other Danskos. Totally worth the trip -- and you can go up route 1 which is pretty!

It is true that Danskos aren't necessarily the best outdoor shoes. The sandals yes, but the clogs not as much. I even hiked up and down a cliff in Hawaii while wearing my Dansko sandals!

RK Fire

@rebeccasue17 Whaaaat.


@RK Fire Totally true - they sell seconds and discontinued styles. I've got three or four pairs from there and I've never figured out why they were selling them. You can save some money too -- the shoes run around $70 last time I was there. No guarantee of getting exactly what you are looking for, but you'll likely find something worth taking home. http://www.dansko.com/Company%20Store/

Faintly Macabre

@bocadelperro They don't have good traction in a hiking-shoe-way, but have good grip on wet surfaces, which is part of why they're so popular in restaurants/hospitals (I've worn mine while hosing down a floor, so I can attest to this!). But I don't imagine that there would be many wet floors at networking events.

Basically, to second @martinipie, I've also fallen pretty badly/rolled my ankle in mine on stuff like uneven pavement or bumpy asphalt. But as a flat-footed, knee-issue-having person, I have also walked and/or stood all day in mine and felt much better afterwards than I would have in other shoes. They also last forever if you take good care of them, and Dansko tries really hard to keep production local/U.S.-based. (I'm from PA, and there was a story about it in the Philly Inquirer last year.)


@curlysue THIS. I have the world's worst ankles and it took me a lot of tries to realize that Danskos and bad ankles don't get along. For all I know, Danskos and good ankles don't get along either. Those soles are bad news, dude.


@RK Fire my mom just broke one ankle and sprained the other when she slipped in her danskos :( her doctor said that he sees a good deal of danskos related njuries. I turned the bejesus out my ankle more than once when I wore them all the time in middle school

RK Fire

@Faintly Macabre I really like the fact that they've incorporated social/environmental sustainability into their overall business, and I've been trying to move into buying shoes and clothing that will last longer and ideally come from more equity-minded companies. But.. my ankles... hmm. I live close enough to potentially go up to West Grove, it's something I'll consider.

Faintly Macabre

@RK Fire No pressure in buying them! I just felt compelled to stand up for my shoes that make me fall down sometimes. Dansko makes other shoes that are comfortable but less tippy. I'm also really fond of Clarks as a hard-to-fit person--I don't know if they have exactly what you're looking for, but I have a pair of leather flats from their Artisan line, and they are really well-made. (Pricey unless you get them on sale or at 6pm.com, but with good upkeep I think they'll last forever.)


@RK Fire I have never had a problem with slipping/ ankle twisting in my Danskos and I even wear them in the winter in Chicago. I don't have ankles that are prone to twisting though. I pretty much wear them every day but I am a grad student so I don't have to look that nice. I try not to look like a schlub even if I am just going to the library all day though. The problem for me is that all other shoes are now uncomfortable in comparison.


This is so timely. My nails are normally super thick and strong, but they've been splitting like mofos lately. And so much peely skin around the cuticles that make my polished nails looks sort of grubby.


it's okay I'll be that person who says swag! #YOLO amirite?!

The Lady of Shalott

@redheaded&crazy Drake? I didn't know you posted on the Hairpin, Drake!!!


@The Lady of Shalott my secret identity revealed! I am actually Drake pretending to be Rupert Grint pretending to be a girl in her 20s living in Toronto.

Feels good to finally come clean.


@redheaded&crazy. YOLO it up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Otla5157c

lavender gooms

I want to do gel/liquid eyeliner so badly but I just can't seem to do it on my right eye. I even tried the tape tutorial! There's a fold just at the corner of my eye that seems to screw up any attempts to get the line reasonable looking.

Thus, I usually end up using eyeliner pencils that have the smudgy sponge on the end so I can just blend away the bumpy mess.


@lavender gooms E.L.F. makes an eyeliner sealant that is fantastic for that. I'm the same way but can't ever get my left eye to look right. So a little swipe of that sealant and it keeps it from smudging onto the rest of your lid.


@lavender gooms 1. Do you have an angled brush? 2. Sometimes going outside -> in helps me.

Scary Wollstonecraft

@lavender gooms Seconding this! Inside-out on right eye, outside-in on left eye. (I'm right-handed.)

fondue with cheddar

I have really oily eyes too, and I don't wear makeup, so I really just want to know how to not have oily eyes. At some point every day the oil makes its way into my eye and they burn and tear like crazy. It's not fun! I've used moisturizer, thinking maybe my eyelids were overproducing oil because they were dry, but then I get oil AND moisturizer in my eyes.

NuckingFux Nix

@fondue with cheddar Uhm, and someone chime in if this is completely wrong, but have you tried... eyeshadow? I mean, often times they say to powder your face to absorb the oil and cut down shine so it seems like wearing a powder eyeshadow would do the same thing. If you don't like the way make up looks and thats why you dont wear it, you could always get a matte shade in your skin tone. Otherwise, maybe some of those oil absorbing sheets you can keep in your bag?

fondue with cheddar

@NuckingFux Nix Eyeshadow (which I have not worn in a decade) just ends up in the creases. What I do now is basically oil absorbing sheets, only instead of a product specifically for the purpose I just use toilet paper, tissues, napkins, or my sleeve.

Maybe I should try using ma-a-aaaaaa-gazines?


@fondue with cheddar I would suggest blotting with oil absorbing sheets (you can get em in the acne section of drug stores) and if that's not enough, try an oil-free mattifying primer. A primer is technically makeup, but it's colorless and won't look like you're wearing anything.

fondue with cheddar

@Urwelt I don't know that putting anything like that on my eyelids would be a good idea as I have a tendency to rub them (I know I should stop rubbing them but I'm just being realistic), so I guess the sheets are the way to go. Do they really absorb that much more oil? Because napkins and toilet paper are cheap or even free. And I'm cheap. ;)


@fondue with cheddar You're in luck! As it happens, toilet covers (of all things!) are a good substitute. Grab one the next time you're in a public restroom and try it out. I've find them slightly less effective than actual blotting paper (you have to use more), but considerably better than toilet paper.


@Urwelt As are Starbucks napkins (?) (for real). Also, the Boscia brand blotting papers are 100 for $10, as opposed to the plastic-y Clean and Clear blue ones, which I used to think I loved until I realized they are actually more expensive at $7 for 50-- and the Boscia ones rock (they carry 'em at Ulta and Sephora).

For the oily eye-skin problem, I stick to Urban Decay 24/7 liner pencils, which really stay where they belong unless you go to town with the rubbing. On a bad allergies day, for example, I use a lighter or metallic color so it's not obvious if I accidentally rub half of it off.

If I'm going out in the evening, I run a make-up removing towelette (I like the Yes To blueberries ones) over my face but particularly around the eyes (avoiding the make-up but getting into the corners and on the lids up to my liner-- I rarely wear shadow) to remove excess oil (which WILL sting my eyes otherwise) and then just touch up the make-up as necessary.

Doing this regularly has helped the problem (as has getting a touch older, I think-- I'm 29 and this combined with gentler face products has my skin less oily than it's been since I was 12-- thank GOODNESS).

fondue with cheddar

@Urwelt That's a great idea for rest area stops on road trips. I'll keep it in mind!

Best pun ever.

@fondue with cheddar Have you tried an eyeshadow primer? On its own? I don't wear eyeshadow that often, but I always use primer on my lids to prevent looking like I'd been upside-down crying.

fondue with cheddar

@Best pun ever. No, but somebody else recommended it, too. I'll look for it!


@sparrow303 I find Makeup Forever Aqua Eyes pencils slightly longer lasting than Urban Decay 24/7, but not as smooth in application. I have oily eyes and these two are the best. With primer they are even better.


LW1: What about some cute t-shirts with a pencil skirt/blazer combo? Skirt + dark tights + chucks or variant "nice" kicks or flats? Dark jeans + blazer + aforementioned sneakers? Work dress with a pair of skinny jeans underneath? Mixing and matching business casual and casual is one of my personal favourite looks.


@renegadeoboe I love all these ideas. I also love that thing that J Crew always does when they mix a casual suit with a tee and sneakers. If I could wear something like that every day, I would.


@renegadeoboe The other oboe concurs.


@renegadeoboe was just about to recommend the same thing. I also want to add that if you invest in a fantastic pair of jeans along with a half dozen cool T's, it is a pretty inexpensive way to add a casual element to any number of your fancy pants things. blazer + slubby T + great jeans + boots? change out the jeans and boots for a slightly mismatched pencil skirt and flats? change the flats out for some vans? OMG THE OPTIONS ARE ENDLESS!!!!
(fancy blouse + fantastic jeans + boots? elegant sweater + fantastic jeans + jeweled flats? AGGGHHHH IT'S SO EASY!)


@renegadeoboe Yes! I came down here to say this because I am in a similar situation to LW#1 (super casual office, like to look cute). Sometimes I go all out, but sometimes I don't want to stand out quite so much and it is really easy to dress down a pencil skirt/dress/blouse. And I still look nicer than almost everyone in my office. T-shirt w/ pencil skirt and heels! Button down w/ jeans and flats! Dress w/ sweater, flats and hair in a ponytail!


@renegadeoboe I like the way you think. LW1, mix those more conservative pieces with some fun and funky stuff and create your unique style. That way you get to enjoy the nice clothes you already have and get to buy some new stuff, too -- the best of both worlds, I'd say.


I know this has been mentioned on the Hairpin before--actually, I think that's where I found out about it--but MONISTAT CHAFING GEL. Use it instead of Urban Decay primer. Save all the moneys. I suppose I should add a disclaimer that 1. I've never actually used Urban Decay and 2. I use my gel under concealer or foundation, rather than on my eyes. But I've heard people recommend it for eyeshadow as well. Perhaps the rest of the commentariat can speak to this?

The anti-chafing gel definitely works for me. Though the best part is definitely being able to say to my boyfriend, sister, friends, and strangers on the street that "I have vagina cream on my face!"


@cmchammer I have heard about putting the Monistat on your face, in place of all-over face primer, and folks do indeed rave about that. But, I have never heard of using it on eyelids. I have used the Urban Decay eyeshadow primer with so much success, that I do not at all mind paying the moneys for it. I usually just get the travel size for $9, and it actually lasts quite a long time. I can use Urban Decay shadows (so beautiful, so sparkly) or any other cheapo kind I have and the eyeshadow stays on ALL DAY. No creases, no fading. And I have a generally oily face, so I can say it holds up under the greasiest of circumstances.

Also, gel eyeliner is THE BEST for staying put. So much so that it's hard to remove. I wasn't sure if I'd like it, so I got the Essence brand at Ulta for about $3 (I paid about $10 for a good brush), and I absolutely love it. However, if you don't have a lot of experience with say, liquid eyeliner application, you will have to practice a good bit.


@bevrockin That's good to know. I've never had a problem with oiliness around my eyes--if anything, that area's always been pretty dry for me. The monistat is supposed to work because its active ingredient is dimethicone, which is the same ingredient used in urban decay primers, including the eyeshadow primer potion*, but I'm also pretty careful about what I put around my eyes. And on my face in general, since I'm pretty acne-prone. I think I've only used the chafing gel all over one time, the night of a college dance this last semester. Day to day I usually keep it to my chin, where I have some discoloration from old acne and frequent new blemishes. It seems to work especially well in covering up pimples/cysts/whatever that I've picked and and are healing, as it smoothes over the unevenness that's usually hard to hide with just concealer.

*See link: http://giddybloom.blogspot.com/2010/08/monistat-soothing-care-chafing-gel-vs.html)


@cmchammer That Urban Decay eye primer is definitely not the same formulation as regular foundation primer. It's way stickier (and works great). I don't think you can swap out Monistat for that and expect the same results.

But for your face - yes! It makes me break out, so I had to ditch it, but it does work.


@cmchammer I have used the Monistat and it is not comfortable if it gets in your eyes. It definitely works as a regular primer but I probably wouldn't use it as an eyeshadow primer. It also makes me breakout...but most things do :-/


@cmchammer I can second this - and it did come from here. It works great, I smear it all over my face, eyelids included.


';;;;;;\-iu=n hhhhhhhhhhj[[[';;;;;;;;;;;;;klooooooooooo


@cmchammer And that is from my cat. Thanks for the input, Banjo!

RK Fire

@cmchammer I thought you were just really excited about vagina cream on your face!


@RK Fire I mean, I am pretty excited about it. Rendered speechless. But so is Banjo. She's super excited to finally have a way to conceal those unsightly under-eye stripes.

RK Fire

@cmchammer Under-eye stripes on cats are the best!


@RK Fire Oh, I agree. We're working on her self-confidence. I hope she can understand that not every cat looks like Grumpy Cat or Maru. The Media, man...it gets to all of us.

Miss Kitty Fantastico

@cmchammer they ARE the best. My cat always falls for "Cleopatra's cat wore her eye stripes JUST like that!"


Ms Fancy Pants, love your clothes and wear them. I am a stay at home mom and like nice clothes so I wear them whenever I want. Where am I going? Pick up! Great, put on a dress. PTA? Skirt and blouse (just kidding, I'm a lousy PTA member). People often comment that i "always look so nice" which for other moms means "stop getting dressed!!" but I have the clothes and not many places to wear them so I get them on as often as I can. A pair of oxfords & thick tights can dress down a silk shift with a big ole sweater on top, my tuxedo blazer with a tee & jeans & heels, skirt & buttondown with a sweatshirt over... and never buy those hideous mules!!


@houseofb I gave this a thumbs-up partly because of the nice clothes, but mostly for "I'm a lousy PTA member." Indifferent PTA Moms of the world, unite!


For LW2, have you tried Urban Decay's 24/7 pencils? I have watery eyes, but this stuff sticks like cement, and the super-thick crayon version is really easy to use. (Gels and liquids look great, but sometimes they require too much laser-like focus so early in the morning! I try to get into the habit of doing liquid liner regularly, but finally I go, "THIS IS TOO MUCH STRESS FOR 7:00 IN THE MORNING," and go back to the big foolproof crayons.)

Theda Baranowski

@werewolfbarmitzvah I go for Stila's Kajal eyeliners, aka the softest eyeliner on the planet. It...only sort of stays, but I don't look like a raccoon. Also I wear amethyst so often that purple looks more like a neutral on me than either the black or the smoky gray.


@werewolfbarmitzvah Or, Makeup Forever Aqua Eyes, which stays longest for me, although it doesn't go on as smoothly as the Urban Decay.


@werewolfbarmitzvah Or, Makeup Forever Aqua Eyes, which stays longest for me, although it doesn't go on as smoothly as the Urban Decay.


FIRST- Jane, you win my heart for working in Look Around You.

Other stuff- I am a fellow haver of oily eyelids and prefer Bare Minerals Prime Time primer in the matte formula (not brightening). It's pretty easy to blend. Semi-pro tip: keep your lids closed for a few seconds to let it dry and set so it won't get creased.

For anyone dying of dry, brittle nails, I started taking B5 supplements and my nails made a miracle recovery.


Does anyone have tips for top coats? I've been using Seche Vite, but after a day it starts to shrink (so the tips of my nails start showing the white nail underneath). I normally fix this by painting my nails when they've longer and then trimming them the day after I paint so get rid of the white tips. But sometimes I want long nails! So, suggestions for top coats?


@heartubleachie A lot of folks love Seche, and it does dry so fast, but I had the same shrink issues. On day 2, I could generally just peel off the polish from each nail in one piece (very bad for my nails but hard to resist).
I can recommend Essie's Good to Go. It dries almost as fast as Seche and is good and shiny. Sally Hansen's Insta Dry is also great and lasts a long time, but not quite as shiny.


@heartubleachie I've been using Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat (whew) - the stuff in the clear red bottle. pretty happy with it!


@heartubleachie Do you wrap the tips when you use SV? I just started using it, and having read about people having shrinking/peeling issues, it seems like the best thing to do is run an extra swipe along the edge of your nail so it's basically enclosed on all sides. I've been doing it, and haven't had any issues with shrinkage or peeling.

sarah girl

@heartubleachie INM's Out the Door! You can usually get it at CVS, I love it.


@heartubleachie I've tried a billion top coats, and the ones with the least shrinkage combined with fast fast drying that I've tried are that Sally Hansen one rangiferina mentioned, and the Butter London one.


@heartubleachie i really like essie good to go. seche vite frightens me with its toxicity, and the essie one seems to be better/less terrifying.


@heartubleachie While I love a new bottle of Seche Vite, it gets gummy/shrinky about halfway through. There's some poison/potion you can buy to restore it to its proper viscosity, but: why bother. I've been using Orly's Sec'n'Dry, which I find to be great BUT slightly less glossy than SV.


@singstrix Thanks for all the suggestions, peeps. I'm also curious if anyone has used a matte top coat? I'd like to try one, but I haven't gotten around to Sephora or Sally Beauty to scope one out.


@heartubleachie MakeupAlley probably has many opinions on that front, if I recall correctly. I think the main deal with matte topcoats is they can be streaky -- I have a cheap NYC Cosmetics matte topcoat which I like OK, and one from ELF (which smells like chemical warfare AND can streak). Streakiness doesn't matter so much if you're mattifying glitter, but otherwise -- I hear good things about Essie's matte about you. Look at online comparison pics, too -- some "matte" topcoats are more of a natural/buffed look, which is still glossier than I want.


@heartubleachie and @bevrockin
Seconding Essie's Good to Go. I had shrinkage problems with Seche Vite. I do almost exclusively wear Essie nail polish though. There might be something to wearing top coats of the same brand as your favorite nail polishes.


@heartubleachie Third/fourth/fifthing Essie. OPI's quick dry made my nail polish peel off in sheets, which was satisfying to do but not the point. Essie and I get along great.


@rangiferina YES, I love love that Sally Hansen stuff. It is a manicure miracle worker, I never paint my nails without it anymore. Nail polish lasts for way longer, and it dries really fast.


Here's a (kind of) secret if you're buying Hoofmaker for your hands: go to your local feed store or Horse.com and buy the stuff they sell for horses. It's the exact same, just cheaper and in a larger container. Right now horse.com has 32 ounces for 8.99

Valley Girl

@schrodingers_cat I really want to buy some of those horsey/cowie lotions and relive my summers at Girl Scout camp using Udder Butter but as far as I've seen they all have lanolin in them, which I now try to avoid :(


I am a little bit of an overdresser at heart, or was when I was a college student at least, but I work someplace (a university) that's pretty much exactly matched to my level of professional/casual so I lucked out. But yeah, t-shirts look really cute with pencil/work type skirts, as do tank tops and flip-flops in the summer. Of course it's much easier to casual-ify in the summer; all you have to do is wear unprofessional footwear, but you can also do sweatshirts or a pullover or something with your fancier skirts or dresses in the winter. Or wear leggings/yoga pants with a nice blouse or blazer. These are all looks I've worn. (I wish I could wear my cat sweatshirt to work.


LW2: Fellow oily lid sufferer here. I got a sample of the UD primer and it worked too well IMO! Like, I couldn't blend my makeup after applying it. Also, it felt like I had put superglue all over my lids, which was the worst. I like Too Faced shadow primer; holds really well, doesn't feel gross, plus it's cheaper AND you get more than with UD!


@crango My discovery with the UD lid primer is that when you can't blend very well, you're using too much. It takes SO LITTLE to make your shadow last all day.


@crango The e.l.f. eyeshadow primers also work really well, and then you're only spending $1-3. They won't necessarily intensify the color of your shadow like the UD one does, but they help with oil and creasing and make stuff last all day. I've heard good things about the NYX eyeshadow primer too, as another cheaper option, but I haven't tried it. (I have a blog all about cheap makeup, so I am obsessed with these alternatives. Also: hoarding makeup.)


@crango Your blog sounds amazing.


@crango...the first and only eyeshadow primer I've used is Too Faced. It is perfect. I do have oily skin, but I don't know if it's as bad as LW2. W/o primer, though, my eyeshadow and liner would be gone by lunch, or maybe just some lumps in my crease. W/ the TF primer, my eyemakeup lasts all day, regardless of if I'm using expensive shadow/liner or dollar bin stuff. Like, I'm getting ready for bed at 10:30 p.m. and my eye makeup still looks like when I put it on at 7 a.m.


@muralgirl yeah, link to your blog please?


@Mariajoseh It's cheapasf.blogspot.com


@muralgirl thanks!


@RebeccaKW I love it so much! I had been using Make Up Forever's primer before and it didn't last nearly as long! I do have to say, I liked that it was packaged like a lipgloss with a doe foot applicator because it made it easier to control how much I used; I feel like I wind up squeezing out too much than what I actually use with Too Faced's tube


@crango It took me several tries to figure out the right amount. I ended up starting with a pin dot amount, you know, just one quick squeeze and rubbing that on, then again, until I felt like my eyelid was covered well. Then the next time, 2 quick squeezes, trying that, etc, until I figured out how many squeezes I needed. Sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, though, I don't pay attention and end up getting too much out.

And one tube last FOR-EV-ER, so it's well worth the splurge for this.


I am currently working in an office where it is actually against the rules to dress up or look formal at all. Or wear black (which is 95% of my closet). Seems stupid, but you cannot imagine how bummed out this makes me on a daily basis. LW1: Wear those pencil skirts for both of us?


@doomfordarlings That sounds like a TERRIBLE place to work! Banning fanciness seems harsh but at least it seems like there could be a logical reason for it. No black? That's just nuts.


@doomfordarlings ...and now you really need to tell us what you do...


@Ophelia Agreed. Plainclothes policeman? Maybe doomfordarlings has to be very unobtrusive.


@rosaline Or maybe it's the other side. Association of assassins.


@rosaline Nah, the assassins would totally wear black. Kitschy Kindergarten teacher?

RK Fire

@Ophelia No no, grey blends into the night better. Black is just a style thing.


@Ophelia @rosaline That's a whole post. I work in a strange place. I'm just a designer. I really WISH I was a plainclothes policeman though.


@RK Fire These assassins took Vetinari's advice.

Does Axl have a jack?

@doomfordarlings Are you a designer for a store/company whose name begins with A or H and whose stores are filled with shirtless dude pics?

Theda Baranowski

I have a strange nail issue. They all grow and don't break, except - my thumbnails, which seem to break/rip/break my heart all the time, and are thus perpetually short. Help?


@Theda Baranowski Do you text a lot & when you do, do you use your thumbs? My nails are notably shorter & weaker on the fingers I use for typing more than the others.

Theda Baranowski

@Saaoirse I have an iPhone, it is essentially an extension of my hands. So, this is probably it, I'm guessing.

simone eastbro
Jane Marie

@simone eastbro simone!


@simone eastbro Wow, lube too? Corn Huskers is the bomb! Years ago I had a summer job working for a golf course where companies could rent out the Tavern on the Green for their cookouts after a day of golf. Corn on the cob was always on the menu, and as the person who opened the restaurant solo in the morning, it fell on me to husk 200+ ears of corn before 1pm. Every. Day. For an entire summer.

Turns out there's a reason they invented that stuff- husking will seriously turn your hands dry as paper! Corn Huskers lotion became my drugstore godsend because I would go through so much of it (though these days I swear by that Gold Bond shea lotion to get the rough off my beat up hands).


Fancy pants! I also work in a casual office. The secret is 1) ballet flats and 2) wearing one fancy thing at a time. Blazer? Wear it with jeans. Skirt? Wear it with a knit t-shirtish top (not like a graphic tee, but like a nice, plain one from Banana Republic or something). Etc. And wear all of these with shoes that are not heels.

Eyeliner! Urban Decay's 24/7 stick is the best at not melting. And have you looked into liquid liner? Not foolproof, but generally I find that they stick better than pencils.


@KeLynn I was just about to give very similar advice to LW1. I work in a casual office...but I make a professional salary and I make a lot more money than many of the people who are dressing casually. Okay, my boss wears birkenstocks to work but not all of my superiors do. If you don't want to wear a full suit, wear the skirt and top with a cardigan instead of the suit jacket. Or wear the suit jacket and top with nice jeans and boots. I like wearing dresses to work b/c it's just easier to put on one thing than to coordinate top and bottom. I wear with ballet flats or boots that can be dressed up or dressed down. I think (hope?) it distinguishes me as person of (mild) authority, but makes me accessible too.

Also, LW2, I wear the Urban Decay primer every single day and I like it, but it's not perfect. Your eyes will probably still get greasy and you'll want to touch up maybe once during the day.

Erin Madden@facebook

#2: I know there are some eye conditions that lead to excessively oily lids. If you have an eye doctor, they may be able to help!


If LW1 wants to ease into wearing her dressier stuff, I suggest nice tshirts? I have a couple of nicely fitted tshirts from JCrew and Target and I wear them under blazers (with jeans) and with pencil skirts all the time. With tshirt and blazers you kind of look like Ellen, but I like that.


Moving to Antarctica actually sounds like a really exciting idea. Like, I really want to apply for the accounting position.


@iseeshiny right? It's fascinating that they're looking for a hairstylist and a postal clerk.


@iseeshiny I have a friend who went as an engineer on a research project. And on his way back he stopped off in New Zealand and Hawaii for a few weeks. Not too shabby. You should do it!


@iseeshiny Seriously, I just looked through all the positions to see if I was qualified for any of them. What a cool way to spend a season!


@iseeshiny A friend of mine lived in Antarctica for 3 months - he was a bus driver! (like, driving scientists around the area)

Theda Baranowski

@themegnapkin I'm kind of surprised they're not looking for a bartender. But then, maybe that's what the beverage coordinator is.

Jane Marie

@themegnapkin i, um, just got a little weepy (for real) thinking about how i'll probably never be a hairstylist in Antarctica.


@chevyvan Do you know if they ever need nurses, teachers, secretaries--that kinda thing?

I wanna talk my cold-averse husband into this. The Minnesotan in me is LOVING the idea of all parkas, all the time.


@iseeshiny I'm glad I'm not the only one who clicked that link right away. Let's see, I could be the housing coordinator, and my husband could be the retail clerk...

(Guys, I think I have been between jobs for too long.)

Oh, and ps, I don't know if you have notifications turned on, but re Japanese street style blogs from the last Q&A, TokyoFashion.com is my favorite.


I met a girl once at a party who had lived in Antarctica for a summer and was going back for the next summer! (Does it surprise you that there's a skeleton crew for the winter?) She said her major hang-up was that she was an employee of evil, evil Raytheon.


@sophia_h I don't (didn't!) have notifications turned on - thanks so much for the follow up!

@Rock and Roll Ken Doll I found some sort of Q&A online about living in Antarctica and it sounds horrible and also kind of amazing - like being at a really chilly summer camp. I want to sell my house and my car and go do this thing.


DO IT! I can't, because I don't have the kind of job where I can leave and return. Also, I have a wife who wouldn't consider this. But otherwise I would totally go for it.

I understand that, if you live at McMurdo, you can take day hikes out to play with penguins or see the huts that earlier explorers built, with their stuff still sitting there!


@parallel-lines If not I know people just go down there to work as janitors and truck drivers regardless of what they usually do back home.

Faintly Macabre

@iseeshiny Last April Fool's, I convinced a lot of people on Facebook that I was moving to Morocco--and then announced that I was for real moving to France two days later. I almost want to move to Antarctica just to watch the confusion and hilarity that would ensue when I told everyone.

(And I think I might actually apply! That is probably crazy, and I am only semi-qualified for a couple of the positions. But it's really tempting!)


@iseeshiny I know quite a few people that have worked in Antarctica- mostly as janitorial or kitchen staff- I mean, I don't know what else they need people to do unless you're a scientist, but all my friends have reported having a blast and keep going back.

Fun fact: if you're a lady, they make you take a pregnancy test before you get on the plane and you have to prove you have enough birth control because they can't be responsible for getting an oops,pregnant! lady out of there, as the stays are usually months at a stretch and Antarctica is only accessible for short windows of time throughout the year. It's definitely only a place for the very gritty.

Faintly Macabre

@flapadactyl Are they actually as picky about years of experience as the website says? (A lot of the basic jobs want 5 years of experience in retail or whatever, and certification in chopping things, etc.)


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll I can't either, and it's really disappointing. I have a mortgage and a husband and a dog and a big girl job and it's going to have to stay a fun daydream :(

@Faintly Macabre please do it so I can live vicariously through you! The fact that you've lived abroad before probably would speak well to your ability to adjust. And then blog about it so I can live vicariously through you?


Yes! Vicarious trips to Antarctica!

I'm almost disappointed by @flapadactyl's info about the birth control. I would love to read a personal essay about packing for Antarctica that included an extensive internal monologue about how much birth control to pack and what kinds.


@Faintly Macabre Hmm, don't know how particular they are about experience these days. The folks I know who worked there started around 2003 when I think it wasn't so much on the radar as a thing. It might be more selective nowadays, but it probably wouldn't hurt to apply anyhow, maybe just emphasize your willingness to do manual labor and make the case that you have what they're looking for? Good luck! :)


Maybelline's Full'N'Soft is so good for blondes. The day that I bought it changed my mascara-applying life.


tips for winter skin?

my face gets really red and chapped in the winter and this week i've been wearing foundation every day with a light coat of phys formula green stick underneath. my chappiness is almost gone, that stick is pretty awesome.


@LeafySeaDragon oil cleansing has been doing wonders for my dry winter skin. I know some people make their own (I'm not that good), but the DHC Cleanser and Shu Uemura (expensive, but I made a sample size bottle last six months) are both amazing. I had dry patches under my eyes and they've totally disappeared.


@LeafySeaDragon @parallel-lines I was going to suggest oils too! I make my own - nothing fancy, I just squeeze out a tiny bit of castor oil and a tiny bit of almond oil into my palm and mix them up. (You can google if you need help picking oils, but the basic formula is castor oil plus something else). I oil cleanse a few times a week, and I also use a few drops of almond oil in place of a nightly moisturizer and my face is never ever sad anymore.

raised amongst catalogs

@LeafySeaDragon I found that using Lush's Ultrabland cleanser at night has really helped my dry skin. You really have to rinse it off (I sort of steam my face with a warm, wet washcloth and gently wipe -- then wet the other side of the washcloth and repeat) but it doesn't strip your skin or clog your pores all up. I follow that with their Eau Roma Water toner and then their Full of Grace serum. In fact, you could just start with the serum -- it's actually a bar and you warm it in your hands and just barely rub it around and a little goes a LONG way. Helps a ton with redness/chappy feelings. You can use it as your night moisturizer or layer it with another if you need to (I never need to). In the morning, my skin STILL feels hydrated after that serum. And I'd say a bar of the serum lasts me about three months, maybe more.


@raised amongst catalogs ooh, i used to used UB way back when! i'll grab a sample when i hit LUSH this weekend. i want to get a bottle of nice moisturizing body wash.


@LeafySeaDragon Ugghhhh I get old lady hands EVERY winter, and I live in fear of the day they just stay that way when summer comes. Nivea Creme.

raised amongst catalogs

@LeafySeaDragon See if you can snag some of the Ro's Argan body conditioner while you're at it! Divine.


@LeafySeaDragon My dermatologist just recently recommended Vanicream (they also make a lighter lotion if the cream is too thick). It's like Cetaphil, so great for irritated, sensitive skin and can be used on the face as well. It's noncomedogenic. I buy mine at Walgreens, but you can buy samples at their website.


@LeafySeaDragon My number one revelation after living in the midwest for a number of years was to really slather on your lotion. Like, put on 3 times more lotion than you think might be too much. It will soak into your skin in a few minutes. I am trying to get my boyfriend to try this. He has really dry chapped winter skin and stays outside all day and insists on using a half-pea-sized dab of lotion on his face. AAARRGGGGH.


I have been an unrepentant overdresser for years, I say LW#1 should just go for it. She should be prepared for this gem from controlling coworkers: "you make me feel so gross and schlubby when I stand next to you!" It's such a nasty little way to make people feel bad about what they're wearing, but everywhere I've worked I've gotten that semi-regularly from at least one coworker.


people are crazy.

Faintly Macabre

@MilesofMountains I once got that from a volunteer at an organization where I was interning, after he biked in July heat to the office where I'd been sitting in a maxi dress in front of a fan all day. Except he meant it in a nice way, so I was like YES, I AM A GODDESS. (Though I might have felt that more from my long drapey dress than from his words.)


@MilesofMountains. Well, being a woman means being responsible for everyone else's feelings, right? (Assuming you're a chick; just going with the numbers here.) I'm glad you are unrepentant. Ugghhh, I hate it when people get angry at someone else because of their own emotions/neuroses surface in response to that other person. As harebell noted, "people are crazy."


Lw1: Nothing wrong with being the flyest bitch in the office. I might be doing it RIGHT NOW.


@Megano! I need to post that above my mirror. Actually, in order to make it all-purpose, I will shorten to "Nothing wrong with being the flyest bitch."


@Megano! SAME HERE.


@Megano! these days it functions as protective armour beyond the usual, I like dressing up and I have all dese clothes, function.


Overdress! And then also secretly do a personal style blog that none of your coworkers know about! It's fun! (I will not rest until I have encouraged/bullied at least one person into to being a style blogger.)


@frigwiggin Seriously, though, reading/writing style blog posts all the time completely normalizes some really weird shit. Mixing florals? Sure! Crop tops are back in? Why not! (I really hate crop tops on myself, though. With my long torso I have a hard time getting shirts to be long enough as it is.)

The Hyperbolic Julia Set

@frigwiggin I am the overdresser at my office and I've secretly wanted to start a style blog for forever, but I used to be in the DMV and so I feel underdressed which makes me not want to...


@The Hyperbolic Julia Set

No, but you should do it! I'm definitely the overdresser of my office and sharing the outfits online is a ton of fun for me. Do it and be my friend! Go to wordpress or blogspot and get a-bloggin'! Peer pressure!!

The Hyperbolic Julia Set



@The Hyperbolic Julia Set

Does that mean you'll join me and be my blog buddy?! I promise to leave irregular comments on your posts that often have nothing to do with what you're wearing!


I don't know about that Egyptian Magic stuff but...this stuff is amazing. http://www.amazon.com/Aztec-Secret-Indian-Healing-Cleansing/dp/B0014P8L9W/ref=pd_bxgy_bt_img_z

And it weirdly comes up when this Egyptian Magic stuff does.


1. I own those ugly ass mules! I lose at fashion.
2. I want to be a bartender in Antartica! It'll be like the boyfriend bunker, but really fucking cold.
3. I love "Look Around You" so so so so so so so much!


Seriously, just overdress every day, unless you're doing something seriously physical.

I have very oily eyelids (which is weird to me when I think about it, my eyelids? really?) and I kind of hate the UDPP, it's sticky and takes too long to dry, I like Benefit's Stay Don't Stray

Also I find that giving my nails just one day of a break helps them feel stronger. I'm not sure if it makes sense, but I swear I can tell.

Miss Maszkerádi

Regarding the two dudes in Jane's earlier workplace.....what does it say about me if the very mention of hats with feathers in them made me a little weak in the knees??


Oh my God I had convinced myself that I'd made up Look Around You! I've never seen it sober before.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

These guys with the hats and the pocket squares, are they perhaps available for marriage to me right now?

Jane Marie

@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) i'm sorry, one died young and one is old and married. :(

Lindsay Cochran

1. dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.
2. no one really cares how you're dressed. (i used to worry "omg!! i wore that skirt last week!! everyone will NOTICE.) they don't notice.
3. if they DO notice, and they do judge. they're jealous dicks. you look super cute, sharp, and professional in your garb. as the kids say "haters gon' hate". there are worse things in the world than everyone thinking you look polished and classy.

Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that)

And a nail polish question: Does anyone else have any Anna Sui nail polish? Do you love or very strongly hate the way it smells?

fondue with cheddar

@Rookie (not the magazine) (not that there's anything wrong with that) I don't know about that specific brand, but I always thought nail polish smelled like fake banana flavoring.


LW#3- do not use a nail buffer! I also have nails that peel and split in the winter, and I thought the buffer would be gentle way to repair my nail, but it does the opposite! It will look nice and shiny for a while, but as the nail grows out, the parts that you buffed will split, peel and break even more because duh, buffing the nail made it a little thinner, and therefore weaker. What I do is clip off the damage, use a low grit nail file, keep them short and moisturized till they look better. I also find that keeping them polished helps protect them, but only if I'm good about re doing the polish when they start to chip, or my nail starts cracking again.

wow. that was a lot of words about keratin.

The Hyperbolic Julia Set

LW#1: Oscar Wilde once said "One can never be overdressed or overeducated." Obviously there are actually limits BUT THE POINT IS they are hard to reach. Also this may be a nonsequitur but if you are an over-dresser you may enjoy the Advanced Style blog which is about older ladies that overdress ALL THE TIME! They are so fun! http://advancedstyle.blogspot.com/


@The Hyperbolic Julia Set Ahhhh, I love Advanced Style! So great for the visibility of older folks in our society.


LW2: As an asian lady whose eyelids are oily and fold over themselves, I (after investing way too much time and money over the course of my makeup-wearing life in trying to find eye makeup that would stay in place and within my budget) now swear by Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner. It's a brush pen that works better than anything I've used before -- I don't even use any primer with it. Since it's a liquid liner, it's a bit bold, but I try to counter-act that (and the oil) by putting a bit of dark eyeshadow on top and above the line.


Is there internet in Antarctica? Because if so I feel like that is the place for me.


LW1, totally been there. Everyone in my department wears jeans to work. So, for the first year or so, I wore jeans, too. But I had a lot of cute things I wasn't wearing, and it was boring, so I tried wearing a dress once - they all kind of stared, and asked if I had a date. Nope, just liked the dress, so I was a little embarrassed and turtled back into wearing jeans for a long time.

I slowly started making little fancier additions until I was wearing skirts and dresses most days (sometimes you just want to wear jeans, okay? Yay for a work culture that makes that possible) and feeling good and they were used to it. Now I can wear things like this fancy pants anthropologie dress and they're just like, Cool dress, Syd. And it is.

So maybe start slowly building in the outfits you like to wear? And it'll just be Your Style and they'll be used to it because it's your thing. But totally take advantage of the fact that you can dress down when you want, because we are totally lucky in that regard!


Ok let me talk about nails for a hot minute.


No really, it doesn't. It makes my already peely nails peel worse than usual. Nail Envy is also expensive as hell for a base coat/nail strengthener. I use seche rebuild and I have zero complaints, it makes my nails long and strong and no longer peeling. Seche has 2 other strengthening bases as well, and they aren't paying me or giving me anything to say this but damn I wish they would, I shout my seche rebuild love from the rooftops!

Also if you have weak/brittle nails I would not recommend a nail buffer as regular use of nail buffers will make your nails super thin and even weaker. And I had the super unpleasant experience to waaaaaaay overbuff a patch on my thumb and I cringed every time I touched the spot. Awful.


Hey Miss Fancy Pants! I also worked in a really casual office (like, mules, denim shorts, T-shirts) and, after having come from a more formal environment and having a natural inclination to wear more dressy clothes, didn't have anything that casual.

But don't change the way you dress! I don't feel comfortable going to work in casual clothing, so I still wore skirts and heels every day, and it was fine. I got a lot of compliments on my clothes, and I never got the feeling that anyone thought I was being snooty. I just would have felt really schlubby and unkempt if I went to work in jeans or T-shirts, and like I was wearing someone else's clothes.


Confidential to dry, peel-y nails lady: jojoba oil! Its uses are endless - rub into your nails, or the ends of your hair if you're prone to split ends, or use it as a make-up remover/face moisturizer (amazingly, it won't break you out!), or just coat your entire self with it. Argan oil is a good alternative, too!


I LOVE those "HIDEOUS MULES"!!! so sad finding out my taste horrifies Jane....


I work for a online software company, so you can imagine how casual the dress code is here. I actually started Fancy Fridays, as a way to pull out my nice outfits and have a bit of fun. People have gotten into it!


People who are wearing a fancy costume as Darth Vader, Scream Killer and other movie characters opt to have a full face mask for the perfect effect. Most are made of paper mache to allow the person to breathe easily. bathrooms stirling


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he stays are usually months at a stretch and Antarctica is only accessible for short windows of time throughout the year. It's definitely only a place for the very gritty.
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