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My DD has an internship this summer in Phoenix. The company sent out info regarding the dress code and she is required to wear professional blazers, pants, and skirts. She is very broad-shouldered and had a difficult time finding comfortable in blazers and jackets. We anticipate needing to make alterations. Where is the best place to purchase business professional? 

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12 minutes ago, wilrunner said:

My DD has an internship this summer in Phoenix. The company sent out info regarding the dress code and she is required to wear professional blazers, pants, and skirts. She is very broad-shouldered and had a difficult time finding comfortable in blazers and jackets. We anticipate needing to make alterations. Where is the best place to purchase business professional? 

I keep quoting people by mistake, sorry.

It depends on what her style and budget is. My preference is Ann Taylor.

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I don't know what part of the country you or she is in, but you might google which department stores in your area have in-house alterations, especially free ones.  IME it's worth it to go to a higher end department store (with a suits department), and ask them for budget friendly options given the dress code and her frame.

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19 minutes ago, wilrunner said:

My DD has an internship this summer in Phoenix. The company sent out info regarding the dress code and she is required to wear professional blazers, pants, and skirts. She is very broad-shouldered and had a difficult time finding comfortable in blazers and jackets. We anticipate needing to make alterations. Where is the best place to purchase business professional? 


For DD (also broad shouldered) I would also look at Penny's and Macy’s. You can buy a size up, pay for alterations, and not break the bank.

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1 minute ago, madteaparty said:

I don’t know about broad shoulders but Banana republic office wear has a bit of stretch if I recall. 

Yes, they do. Forgot about them!

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those are fairly basic pieces - where you go depends upon your budget and what is available near you.  (or you could order online from a reputable source.)  Find a good tailor - probably not one associated with one of the stores (I have confidence in Nordstrom's tailors.)  talk to the tailor before hand for if you'll need to buy a larger size to get the shoulders to fit - and just how much can be taken in elsewhere to make it fit properly.

2dd has very broad shoulders - but is also tall.  tall sizes were easier to get the breadth in the shoulders.  fortunately - she went into field that she wears scrubs almost every day.

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26 minutes ago, Katy said:

I don't know what part of the country you or she is in, but you might google which department stores in your area have in-house alterations, especially free ones.  IME it's worth it to go to a higher end department store (with a suits department), and ask them for budget friendly options given the dress code and her frame.

just want to add - that's not penny's.  the macy's here is borderline for that.   Nordstrom is it for dept stores that I trust in that area.

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Would a "sweater blazer," which is just a knit jacket, satisfy the dress code?  They would be harder to alter but potentially easier to fit.  Here is an example, although there are plenty of them out there.  

I try on Banana Republic clothes all the time and do not like the fit of their blazers through the arms and shoulders.  Ann Taylor is an easier fit.

If she finds a jacket or some other line that fits, she may want to search on Poshmark and find it in other colors.  I pretty much use Poshmark only for that, i.e., looking to replace a piece from two years ago that I've worn out or to buy another of something I already have, but it's pretty awesome for that purpose.  

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Thank you all for your responses. She'll be footing most of the expense of the clothing, though we'll help out some. I hadn't thought about a knit jacket. It might have a little more give/stretch. I'll suggest it to her, but my guess is she'll say it's not professional enough. 

Ann Taylor is my preference, but the clothes don't fit her body shape well. I'll tell her about the Calvin Klein line at Macy's. She was a swimmer whose shoulders never decreased in size after she stopped swimming.

We live in a large city in south central Texas, so there are many options here. It's a little more limited where dd lives, but she's expecting to come home for spring break, so we'll probably go shopping then.

I appreciate the suggestion for Poshmark. I'll have to look at it for me, too. There have been some items I've wished I could find again!

She tried on a dress at H&M tonight that was very cute. I looked for it online to link it here, but couldn't find it. However, it had a lot of swing in the skirt and came to just above her knee. In my (non-professional clothing wearing) opinion, it wouldn't be professional enough. But what really is "professional" clothing? Does a skirt have to be a pencil skirt that comes just below the knees? Or would a dress that's a little shorter with more swing still qualify? I don't know enough to really help her much there. The field she's looking to enter is male dominated, probably on the more conservative side. 

(Please also ignore my misspellings/poor grammar in the original post. I was on my phone and thought I'd double checked everything.)

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8 hours ago, wilrunner said:

Thank you all for your responses. She'll be footing most of the expense of the clothing, though we'll help out some. I hadn't thought about a knit jacket. It might have a little more give/stretch. I'll suggest it to her, but my guess is she'll say it's not professional enough. 

Ann Taylor is my preference, but the clothes don't fit her body shape well. I'll tell her about the Calvin Klein line at Macy's. She was a swimmer whose shoulders never decreased in size after she stopped swimming.

We live in a large city in south central Texas, so there are many options here. It's a little more limited where dd lives, but she's expecting to come home for spring break, so we'll probably go shopping then.

I appreciate the suggestion for Poshmark. I'll have to look at it for me, too. There have been some items I've wished I could find again!

She tried on a dress at H&M tonight that was very cute. I looked for it online to link it here, but couldn't find it. However, it had a lot of swing in the skirt and came to just above her knee. In my (non-professional clothing wearing) opinion, it wouldn't be professional enough. But what really is "professional" clothing? Does a skirt have to be a pencil skirt that comes just below the knees? Or would a dress that's a little shorter with more swing still qualify? I don't know enough to really help her much there. The field she's looking to enter is male dominated, probably on the more conservative side. 

(Please also ignore my misspellings/poor grammar in the original post. I was on my phone and thought I'd double checked everything.)

Can you tell us what field and in what city?  There are very few fields that really require women to wear '90s-era pencil skirts, matching blazers and silk shells any more.  I am an attorney, and although I still see people who dress quite conservatively, they are actually mostly older women in government, and it is almost never every woman in an office.  In most offices, a nice sheath dress or even one with a flared skirt would be appropriate.  And regardless of dress code, NOBODY is going to look askance at an intern's wearing the same things over and over again.  Really, nobody, so I would focus on maybe three outfits that can be mixed and matched a bit:  a pair of black pants (she could wear the same black pair of pants to work every stinking' day, and no one will notice), two jackets, a black pencil skirt, three blouses and a sheath dress with sleeves to be worn without a jacket.  Find out if the office has a casual Friday, and her workwear wardrobe needs decrease by 20%. 

ETA:  Oh, you said Phoenix.  Geez, especially in Phoenix in the summer, I will be shocked if anyone wears jackets all day.  This is why no one will notice if you only have two of them--your jacket is always hanging on the back of your chair or office door.

Edited by plansrme
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Athleta has some nice professional clothing with stretch. The material is technical but the style is modern and polished.

These would make a nice base for a capsule wardrobe:

https://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=350837#pdp-page-content

https://athleta.gap.com/browse/search.do?searchText=wander slim ankle pant&autosuggest=true

Add a couple of fitted Ts or tanks (under a jacket) or nice blouses, a skirt and another similar versatile pair of pants and she would be set for any professional internship. 

 

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For an internship, I would recommend putting together a capsule wardrobe of easy care pieces that are true to her style while giving a polished look.  When we hear blazers in the dress code, Ann Taylor and Talbots make beautiful jackets but she probably doesn’t need this level of investment pieces at this stage.  If she was starting a 9-5 and graduated, I would lean towards the investment pieces.  But, styles do evolve and these investment pieces now may look a little dated for when she goes 9-5.  I would check Nordstrom Rack or some Nordstrom lines aren’t too expensive.  Ann Taylor Loft, H&M and J Crew Factory will also have separates she can mix together for a polished yet age appropriate look.  I would have her check out some fashion blogs like Putting Me Together to get her insight on looks that she likes and also create a list of staple pieces - one knit blazer, one solid color blazer, one solid dress, one pattern dress, etc and shop to that.  Athleta does have some great options like a PP mentioned.  They can be $$ but their sales are good.  They will have a Memorial Day sale. 

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We just had to put together a business professional wardrobe for my daughter's internship. We had to move fast (10 days) right after Christmas.

White House Black Market has a basic shell that DD previously had and loved because it's lined and it's sleeveless. It's pricey at full price, but with sales and clearances we were able to add a few at reasonable prices.  https://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/product/singlepleat+shell/570256790?color=190&catId=search

Sale https://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/product/pleatfront+shell/570273010?color=2437&catId=search

https://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/product/pleatdetail+shell/570272818?color=2441&catId=search

We hit up the stores that were nearby---TJ Maxx, The Loft,  J Crew Factory, Macy's, Von Maur, Talbots, etc. and found basic solid color pants (she went mostly with black). We also found a few blazers and plaid pants at Loft that worked for her which were heavily marked down (like pants for $7), so we got them with hopes of finding things to work with them. Blazers were a challenge because so many of our stores have disappeared and what we have left carry little in the way of business professional. TJ Maxx had a few. We did have really good luck at local consignment stores, and it was easier than wading through the thrift store racks since it had already been sorted. Among other things, she found several really nice Ralph Lauren blazers, as they seemed to be constructed wider at the shoulders.

The challenges we faced were working quickly, trying to keep costs down, and dealing with clothing/brands that she wouldn't normally wear. She normally wouldn't have stepped foot into Chico's, but we saw a nice dress through the store window and it was way marked down and looked great on, so she bought it. (If I hadn't have been along she wouldn't have even walked by, much less gone in.) Ditto with Talbots. She also typically would take a pass on colors in the tan/camel/brown color family, and I knew a camel blazer would help pull together a number of her pieces so I ordered this J Crew Schoolboy blazer without telling her  :tongue:.  It's a little wider at the shoulders than some of their things. She would never have gone for it on her own, but she loves it and later ordered pants to match it. 

https://factory.jcrew.com/p/womens-clothing/blazers/original-schoolboy-blazer/AC131

She wound up ordering a navy blazer and pants from somewhere (maybe Calvin Klein). It was a little more than we wanted to spend, but there's just no matching those pieces in navy as seperates.  We always checked for online codes when ordering, and on occassion those were extra savings. 

The other thing we found is that going up a size or two--but going with petites which she usually doesn't wear--gave her extra room in the shoulders/bust but not too much extra length in the jacket. Some older thrift shop blazers were also roomier than the current styles, but be sure and check across many sizes because sizing is so different than it was in years past. Blazers with two buttons overwhelmingly worked better than blazers with one. 

My DD will be spending much of her time on her feet on hard surfaces so I splurged and bought her two good quality, comfortable pair of work shoes--black flats and black heels. My mom sold shoes and she did this for me when I started teaching and I always appreciated it, especially down the road when I began to have feet problems. 

Birdies Starling flats: https://birdies.com/products/womens-flats-starling-black-leather?variant=28874308288592

Everlane Day Heel: https://www.everlane.com/products/womens-day-heel-black?collection=womens-heels

I also had her waterproof them and made sure she knew to drive in other shoes, since stones will rip fine leather while driving. 

Good luck with your shopping! It was a ton of work, but all worth it when I she sent me her first day pic. There was my little girl, looking all grown up and so professional..sniff, sniff. :wub:

 

 

 

Edited by Pippen
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When my daughter was putting together internship and clinic clothes, we checked out our local Goodwill weekly, if not twice weekly. We shopped labels, Talbots, Calvin Klein, etc. For the price of the clothes, even with alterations, it was worth the cost. We once bought a pair of lined, black Banana Republic dress pants with the tags still on. With this said, we had the whole summer to shop. We live in NOVA, so there are some great thrift stores around us.

Edited by May
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7 hours ago, plansrme said:

Can you tell us what field and in what city?  There are very few fields that really require women to wear '90s-era pencil skirts, matching blazers and silk shells any more.  I am an attorney, and although I still see people who dress quite conservatively, they are actually mostly older women in government, and it is almost never every woman in an office.  In most offices, a nice sheath dress or even one with a flared skirt would be appropriate.  And regardless of dress code, NOBODY is going to look askance at an intern's wearing the same things over and over again.  Really, nobody, so I would focus on maybe three outfits that can be mixed and matched a bit:  a pair of black pants (she could wear the same black pair of pants to work every stinking' day, and no one will notice), two jackets, a black pencil skirt, three blouses and a sheath dress with sleeves to be worn without a jacket.  Find out if the office has a casual Friday, and her workwear wardrobe needs decrease by 20%. 

ETA:  Oh, you said Phoenix.  Geez, especially in Phoenix in the summer, I will be shocked if anyone wears jackets all day.  This is why no one will notice if you only have two of them--your jacket is always hanging on the back of your chair or office door.

I remember 1dd doing some program that demanded a "business casual" wardrobe . . . . she only used it for that program.  Then she got her "real" job, and it was much more casual.  Ten years later she's spiffing up her wardrobe - but only because she's in management.

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3 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

I remember 1dd doing some program that demanded a "business casual" wardrobe . . . . she only used it for that program.  Then she got her "real" job, and it was much more casual.  Ten years later she's spiffing up her wardrobe - but only because she's in management.

This is part of our concern, which is why we don't want to spend a lot of money. Unfortunately, she has been told no business casual, though we're also thinking dress code might loosen up a bit when she arrives.

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12 hours ago, wilrunner said:

This is part of our concern, which is why we don't want to spend a lot of money. Unfortunately, she has been told no business casual, though we're also thinking dress code might loosen up a bit when she arrives.

I've found with business attire, most begin the week more formal and end more casual, unless there is a meeting or if she is having daily interactions with clients. Then she'd have to stick to the formal attire throughout the week. Most companies prefer to keep that standard. It also depends on the field.

Maybe she can do a mix. She can wear a blazer at the beginning of the week and the dress you mentioned upthread on a Thursday/Friday.

Edited by Islandgal
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Posting in this thread so I can find it later. Hope to need it this year or next!

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38 minutes ago, NorthwestMom said:

Have you looked at jjill's Wearever line?

 

40 minutes ago, NorthwestMom said:

 

 

5 hours ago, May said:

When my daughter was putting together internship and clinic clothes, we checked out our local Goodwill weekly, if not twice weekly. We shopped labels, Talbots, Calvin Klein, etc. For the price of the clothes, even with alterations, it was worth the cost. We once bought a pair of lined, black Banana Republic dress pants with the tags still on. With this said, we had the whole summer to shop. We live in NOVA, so there are some great thrift stores around us.

 

5 hours ago, Pippen said:

We just had to put together a business professional wardrobe for my daughter's internship. We had to move fast (10 days) right after Christmas.

White House Black Market has a basic shell that DD previously had and loved because it's lined and it's sleeveless. It's pricey at full price, but with sales and clearances we were able to add a few at reasonable prices.  https://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/product/singlepleat+shell/570256790?color=190&catId=search

Sale https://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/product/pleatfront+shell/570273010?color=2437&catId=search

https://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/product/pleatdetail+shell/570272818?color=2441&catId=search

We hit up the stores that were nearby---TJ Maxx, The Loft,  J Crew Factory, Macy's, Von Maur, Talbots, etc. and found basic solid color pants (she went mostly with black). We also found a few blazers and plaid pants at Loft that worked for her which were heavily marked down (like pants for $7), so we got them with hopes of finding things to work with them. Blazers were a challenge because so many of our stores have disappeared and what we have left carry little in the way of business professional. TJ Maxx had a few. We did have really good luck at local consignment stores, and it was easier than wading through the thrift store racks since it had already been sorted. Among other things, she found several really nice Ralph Lauren blazers, as they seemed to be constructed wider at the shoulders.

The challenges we faced were working quickly, trying to keep costs down, and dealing with clothing/brands that she wouldn't normally wear. She normally wouldn't have stepped foot into Chico's, but we saw a nice dress through the store window and it was way marked down and looked great on, so she bought it. (If I hadn't have been along she wouldn't have even walked by, much less gone in.) Ditto with Talbots. She also typically would take a pass on colors in the tan/camel/brown color family, and I knew a camel blazer would help pull together a number of her pieces so I ordered this J Crew Schoolboy blazer without telling her  :tongue:.  It's a little wider at the shoulders than some of their things. She would never have gone for it on her own, but she loves it and later ordered pants to match it. 

https://factory.jcrew.com/p/womens-clothing/blazers/original-schoolboy-blazer/AC131

She wound up ordering a navy blazer and pants from somewhere (maybe Calvin Klein). It was a little more than we wanted to spend, but there's just no matching those pieces in navy as seperates.  We always checked for online codes when ordering, and on occassion those were extra savings. 

The other thing we found is that going up a size or two--but going with petites which she usually doesn't wear--gave her extra room in the shoulders/bust but not too much extra length in the jacket. Some older thrift shop blazers were also roomier than the current styles, but be sure and check across many sizes because sizing is so different than it was in years past. Blazers with two buttons overwhelmingly worked better than blazers with one. 

My DD will be spending much of her time on her feet on hard surfaces so I splurged and bought her two good quality, comfortable pair of work shoes--black flats and black heels. My mom sold shoes and she did this for me when I started teaching and I always appreciated it, especially down the road when I began to have feet problems. 

Birdies Starling flats: https://birdies.com/products/womens-flats-starling-black-leather?variant=28874308288592

Everlane Day Heel: https://www.everlane.com/products/womens-day-heel-black?collection=womens-heels

I also had her waterproof them and made sure she knew to drive in other shoes, since stones will rip fine leather while driving. 

Good luck with your shopping! It was a ton of work, but all worth it when I she sent me her first day pic. There was my little girl, looking all grown up and so professional..sniff, sniff. :wub:

 

 

 

I would love to see your dd on her first day! It's such an exciting time for our kids as they strike out on their own!

9 hours ago, MEmama said:

Athleta has some nice professional clothing with stretch. The material is technical but the style is modern and polished.

These would make a nice base for a capsule wardrobe:

https://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=350837#pdp-page-content

https://athleta.gap.com/browse/search.do?searchText=wander slim ankle pant&autosuggest=true

Add a couple of fitted Ts or tanks (under a jacket) or nice blouses, a skirt and another similar versatile pair of pants and she would be set for any professional internship. 

 

Those look comfortable and not too hot!

6 hours ago, footballmom said:

For an internship, I would recommend putting together a capsule wardrobe of easy care pieces that are true to her style while giving a polished look.  When we hear blazers in the dress code, Ann Taylor and Talbots make beautiful jackets but she probably doesn’t need this level of investment pieces at this stage.  If she was starting a 9-5 and graduated, I would lean towards the investment pieces.  But, styles do evolve and these investment pieces now may look a little dated for when she goes 9-5.  I would check Nordstrom Rack or some Nordstrom lines aren’t too expensive.  Ann Taylor Loft, H&M and J Crew Factory will also have separates she can mix together for a polished yet age appropriate look.  I would have her check out some fashion blogs like Putting Me Together to get her insight on looks that she likes and also create a list of staple pieces - one knit blazer, one solid color blazer, one solid dress, one pattern dress, etc and shop to that.  Athleta does have some great options like a PP mentioned.  They can be $$ but their sales are good.  They will have a Memorial Day sale. 

 

Thank you all for your suggestions! There are some I wouldn't have ever thought about in terms of professional wear, but look like they may work. We're thinking a few pieces that coordinate would work well without breaking the bank, but we'd also like some that she can continue to wear even after the internship for her professional events.

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On 1/19/2020 at 7:00 AM, plansrme said:

Can you tell us what field and in what city?  There are very few fields that really require women to wear '90s-era pencil skirts, matching blazers and silk shells any more.  I am an attorney, and although I still see people who dress quite conservatively, they are actually mostly older women in government, and it is almost never every woman in an office.

I wanted to check with dd before sharing what field. She's a double major in Economics/Political Science and will be doing an internship in the financial sector. 

I'm so glad to hear formal business professional isn't just polyester pencil skirts/blazers anymore (and I would've gone back even further than the '90's!😂). Some of the suggestions in this thread I never would have considered for business professional. DD expressed her appreciation last night for all your suggestions because there are ideas she hadn't considered, either.

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WTM does it again!  🙂 I just ordered those Birdies flats for my dd, who is a nursing major but occasionally has to look "business professional" for symposiums and whatnot,  Inevitably, she has to go to the lab right after these events so her shoes must be closed toe, closed heel and very comfortable for trekking across campus multiple times.  

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As of last night, the JJill blazer linked was 50% off, then an additional 50% off, so dd ordered both colors. Total was $110. Thank you, NorthWestMom!

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I lost 25 lbs and 3 pants sizes last year, and there was no way I could maintain my professional wardrobe. We have two higher end secondhand clothing stores here, and I've replaced most of my clothing at one of those stores. The selection is smaller than Goodwill, but it's much easier to go through, and I've ended up with Calvin Klein, Evan Picone, and The Loft dress slacks, for example, all for $12 or less. i wasn't in a time crunch and was able to replace over several months.

How fun for your daughter!

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Back when I was buying and wearing that stuff (early 2000s, public accounting, auditing), I really liked Kasper. But even then, there were many clients where we could just get away with business casual, and a suit looked too stuffy. I tended to break up those matching suits to dress them down a bit. 

ETA: I just went out and checked and yes, Kasper is still making workwear. Do a search in Belk or Macy’s. I can attest to good quality and fit 15 years ago...

Edited by SamanthaCarter
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Yes, Kasper or Calvin Klein at Macy's. There are some styles that are less "constructed" that fit a variety of body types. 

I wear Kasper jackets and Tommy Hilfiger pants when I have to dress professionally. I mix-and-match.

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On 1/18/2020 at 6:02 PM, wilrunner said:

My DD has an internship this summer in Phoenix. The company sent out info regarding the dress code and she is required to wear professional blazers, pants, and skirts. She is very broad-shouldered and had a difficult time finding comfortable in blazers and jackets. We anticipate needing to make alterations. Where is the best place to purchase business professional? 


Is budget an important factor?  If it is, I'd look for an upscale consignment store.  Go, try on.  You'll find several different brands.  Eventually, you'll probably see a trend emerge.  I've found I'm a Banana Republic and Loft girl.  But I despise shopping - so going to a bazillion stores isn't my cup of tea.  Just a suggestion.

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Bumping this thread because I just now bought two of the recommended blazers for dd from J Crew.  Thanks, Hive!

Also, someone mentioned waterproofing their Birdies (also bought)... what did they use for that?  

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