Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Casual Tuesday [outfit]

Gap blazer - 2006 - $40? / Ann Taylor outlet top - 2011 - $20 / Rockabilly jeans from Renew Denim - 2010 - $30? / Calvin Klein pumps from Off Broadway - 2007 - $70 on sale / Braided leather belt from Bows and Arrows - 2010 - $12 / Oblong hoop earrings, probably from Target or Kohl's - 2009 - cheap

Back in action after Thanksgiving! It was so nice to see friends and family, and totally gave me new motivation to get to work. We did our regular rounds: K's grandpa's house (Thanksgiving Day), my parents' house (home base), my girlfriends (twice!), and K's best friend (though we could have done without the food poisoning).

Since this was our first trip together since we moved out to Miami, I learned a few valuable lessons. First, FLL is not always cheaper than MIA, but MIA is always closer and should be chosen whenever possible. Second, red-eye flights, once my saving grace when I was young and energetic, are a really bad idea now. My body does not adjust as well as it used to. Our return trip started at 11pm PST and ended at 12:45pm EST the next day, and it still cost an arm and a leg. Um...anyone want to do Thanksgiving in Miami next year? I'm volunteering to host.

Back to the outfit.

We're finally getting into winter here Miami, which means it's in the 70s now. So I pulled out my trusty blazer. Although I usually wear it open, it was looking a little boxy so I buttoned it up. Not bad, still fits. I really liked the classic silhouette and how the color of the top and the sleeve lining really pop. I stayed with a brown belt on this even though I'm wearing a black blazer and shoes (and used a black bag, too).

My formula for mixing black and brown is either multiples of each, or multiples of one and a single pop of the other (yes, I totally made this up on my own). I'll rarely wear just one brown item and just one black item, but if there are three or more black/brown opportunities, I'll mix it up.

What "rules" have you made up for yourself (sartorially or otherwise)?

I rock the iPad

Left these at home for my trip, but brought them with me on the iPad.

For the first time in a long time, I went on vacation without my computer. Although I did have access to my parents study room, I went on it only once, to print my boarding passes for our return flight. I did, oh, about 5 minutes of actual work, too (reviewing my latest post over at the Daily Muse). Aside from those two tasks, I stuck to my phone and iPad, which more than did the trick.

I'll be the first to say I was skeptical about the iPad. And then I received one as a gift (thanks, M&B!), and now I'm addicted. I've had it for about five months now, and it's been a great tool. My favorite uses for the iPad?
  • Reading. I wasn't looking for an e-reader of any sort, but I have to say, I read more now than I have in years thanks to the iPad. Not just ebooks (I use the Kindle app and iBooks, depending on price and where I have a gift card), but also magazines and blogs. Nearly all of my print subscriptions have digital counterparts that are free with my existing subscription. It really comes in handy when I don't want to lug a pile of magazines with me on a plane or to the treadmill. As for blogs, I use MobileRSS free, which syncs with Google Reader and easily opens posts in the browser when I want to comment.
  • Blogging. I never thought I'd need it, but I bought a blogging app and love it (I use Blogsy). If I already have photos uploaded into my Picasa or if I'm using a creative commons photo from Flickr, it's super easy to get my text ready and publish from the iPad. More often, I type a post and then save to draft to polish and add photos on my computer. 
  • Communication. Though I already have a smartphone, I prefer to use my iPad to respond to messages when I have it handy. I've also started using Skype and FaceTime since I've had my iPad. It's easier to hold than my laptop so I can walk around with it (I gave my friend a video tour of my apartment on our first Skype chat), and it's nice to be able to video chat with my iPhone-toting friends (I'm a Droid owner myself).
  • Entertainment. I keep up with HGTV and Bravo shows through their apps, and have been known to like a few games as well. And then, of course, there are those Saturday mornings spent rifling through YouTube videos in bed.
Just to clarify, I am not an Apple fan girl. I've never even bought an Apple product (my MacBook is a hand-me-down). But I see iPads everywhere, and have found mine to be really useful. I hope this post will be useful for fellow iPad owners who want to get more out of their tool. There are many other tablet options out there that probably have similar features if you're on the market for one.

No iPad post would be complete without a link to this gem (possibly NSFW), which came out years before the actual iPad. Enjoy!

Tablet users—what are your favorite apps and uses?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I have quite a few thank-you cards in my card box, but this one is my fave. Down to my last one.

It's been quite the year, hasn't it? I have a lot to be thankful for.
  • A safe and relatively uneventful cross-country move and a really good job for K
  • New friends and our new church in Miami
  • Family all over the country (and world), and a healthy new baby nephew
  • Dear friends in Sacramento and Davis, who made me feel at home for the past four years
  • My former job and the opportunities it continues to give me
  • A roof over our heads and food in our fridge
  • A modern dishwasher
  • Good health for myself and my family
  • The ocean view from our window
  • Palm trees
  • Airplanes
  • Internet, phone, Skype, FaceTime
  • Southern California, which feels more and more like home the further I move away
  • A ton of other stuff that I won't bore you with
Happy Thanksgiving! Be back Tuesday. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Newness [outfit]

A'gaci blazer - 2011 - $30 / Gap favorite T - 2011 - $7 on sale / Joie shorts from Nordstrom - 2011 - gift card / Franco Sarto heels from Piperlime - 2011 - $45 on sale / Kate Spade doodle necklace - 2011 - gift

It never fails that I get new ideas in one of two situations: in bed before I fall asleep (the only justifiable reason for me to keep my iPad on my nightstand) and on a lazy day reading through a stack of magazines. Saturday was my lazy day this weekend and I'm finally up to date on my magazines, which resulted in this super-new Sunday outfit.

What's so new about these pieces you've seen a million times already? Well, they were all purchased in 2011. That's pretty new. Heels with shorts a la Kileen? New to me. And a center part? Totally new.

One of the fun parts of fashion is that when you try new things, there is usually little to no commitment needed. All of these items are already staples in my closet, so throwing them together was easy. And switching up your part is a great no-scissors-needed update.

The hair-spiration? The never-aging Ms. Moore, of course. I saw this ad in a magazine and all my back and forth about my hair disappeared.

Doesn't hurt that my usual hair icon, LC, also rocks the center part from time to time. More about my LC obsession here.

I don't think the heels plus shorts look is for me, although I would never have known if I hadn't tried. The center part, though, is here to stay. At least for this week.

Who are your hair inspirations?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Andewyn Jewelry giveaway winner

And we have a winner for the Andewyn Jewelry giveaway!

Congratulations, Elana! You will be receiving an email shortly connecting you Adrienne to redeem your $30 store credit. Enjoy!

Flower power [outfit]

Target dress - 2011 - $6.50 on clearance / Franco Sarto boots - 2010 - gift / random rings on a chain

I have no idea how one would describe my style, but if there's one thing that it characteristically is not is floral (I know floral is not a style, but you catch my drift). I've accumulated a few (very few) floral pieces of clothing throughout the years, but I don't wear them often. I'm just not all that attracted to florals, and even the ones I do like and own, I find difficult to actually wear.

The exception: I've been longing—obsessing, even—over finding the perfect floral minidress to rock with boots (and a jacket when it gets cooler). There's just something so laidback and boho/rocker about that combo. But I'm a picky one and I've spent years trying to find the perfect dress.

This one isn't traditionally floral, and it isn't completely perfect, but for $6, I figured I'd try it out. The sheer top layer keeps the black wearable in Miami, although the built-in slip leaves much to be desired (one should not have to choose between covering bra or underwear). Good thing I have a black slip that I can pin up and slip under for added protection.

The verdict? I like it. The print, the length, the flow. These boots give it a polished hippie vibe, but I think I'll try them with more rugged boots next time for a little grunge.

Is there a style/print/type of clothing that just isn't you but you had to try it anyway?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday | Open thread

A thank-you card I recently received from a client. Adorable, isn't it?

Confession time: I read maybe a handful of blog posts this week (maybe). This week has been one of those ruts where I have bursts of productivity followed by stretches of inaction. Been feeling a little off, to the point where I sang Rebecca Black's Friday to K last night before bed. Exactly.

So I'm opening it up to you this weekend, my dear readers. What's on your mind today?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Slick [outfit]

Ann Taylor Loft top - 2005 - ? / Merona trouser jeans from Target - 2011 - $18 on sale / Franco Sarto heels from Piperlime - 2011 - $45 on sale

Reminiscing on last week's story reminded me of this tie-neck top (the other remaining part of my interview outfit). Yup, still love it.

In my procrastination of doing anything to my hair, my bangs have grown out to the point where they can be completely tied back into my ponytail. Usually, I only wear my hair this way for working out, but I decided to try it for a normal day of errands and volunteering. I got a few compliments on it, but I'm not fully convinced yet—I've always had bangs of some sort (and I still sort of have sweepy bangs when my hair is down), and I'm not sure I'm ready to go bang-less.

Do you switch from bangs to no bangs? What do you take into consideration?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Five ways to try new things at work

After the honeymoon period of your new job ends, things usually settle into the mundane. You can guess what you'll be doing at any point during the week and know that you'll probably still be doing something similar six months from now (same tasks, different projects). OK, so six months isn't a long time, but what if it drags on longer and you start to get bored? Don't just jump back into the job market—with some creativity and courage, you may be able to find new and exciting opportunities where you are.

Here are some tips on how to get new projects at work. These work best if you're already killing it at your current duties (otherwise you just come across as bored and slackerish).
  1. Talk to you supervisor. Chances are, your supervisor has big plans for your department, but has been holding back to avoid over-working the staff. Check in and let your supervisor know that you're game to try new things or that you've been getting your mundane work done too quickly. Being proactive could mean getting first dibs on the fun stuff.  Be careful that you don't sound ungrateful or bratty.

  2. Solve a problem. We all get frustrated by work processes that seem outdated, inefficient, or just downright unnecessary. Instead of venting to your coworkers about how you would solve that problem if it were up to you, why don't you tell someone who has some clout and actually change things? I promise, the Kardashians will continue to provide good watercooler fodder if you find you have nothing work-related to complain about.

  3. Talk to coworkers from other departments. Find out what's going on in their neck of the woods to see if there are any opportunities for collaboration. This works best if your department serves other departments (for example, the communications and marketing department I was in at my previous job), but there can be opportunities for collaboration otherwise as well. Most companies encourage collaboration, especially if the partnership can increase results, streamline things, or save money. Bring these ideas to your supervisor.

  4. Pitch a new idea or innovation. Have you seen something really cool lately that you think might be applicable to your company? Do you research—find out exactly what is involved in implementing the new idea, what kind of results (preferably measurable) it can produce, how the new idea or tool relates to your company's goals and mission, and what  manpower or resources are required to do it successfully. And then pitch it!

  5. Learn a new skill. It's easy for a supervisor to automatically assign a project to the team member that already has a skill, but isn't that what makes work get mundane in the first place? Doing lots of things we already know? If there is a task or type of project that you're interested in working on but don't have the skill and if there seems to be a need for more of that skill in your department, see if your company will spring for some training. Try to frame it in a way that sets you apart from coworkers with similar skills (for example, pursuing video production if you already have photog coworkers to get in on media projects).
I've tried all of these methods, and each has worked for me at some point or another. There's no guarantee they'll always work, but even an unsuccessful attempt will send a message to your supervisor that you're ready for something new.  

How have you paved your own new way at work? Do you have any additional tips or advice to build on these?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

If you have to ask... [outfit]

A'gaci blazer - 2011 - $30 / Limited maxi dress - 2007 - $20 on sale / Mossimo tank - 2010 - $7 on sale / Steve Madden boots from Macy's - 2009 - gift card + $3 / NY & Co necklace - 2010 - gift

I was going to name this post "Does this match?" And then I realized that if I have to ask, the answer is probably not, but I'll wear it anyway. It was slightly gloomy last week, so I wanted to be more covered up. Plus, boots always make me feel better.

And, of course, after I confessed my recent apathy for shopping last week, I went on a slight bender over the weekend (if by bender you mean dropping $25 at Target for two t-shirts and a 75% off dress). Just when I started getting all cocky about my recent money-saving ways.

What's your take when you question what you're wearing? Do you ask for a second opinion, change, or keep on keepin' on?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Andewyn Jewelry [giveaway]

I am a metals gal when it comes to jewelry (with pearls being a close second). Silver is my go-to metal, which is why I fell in love with Andewyn Jewelry when Adrienne first emailed me a few months back.

Andewyn Jewelry is handmade in the good ol' USA (Nashville, to be exact). Adrienne, the owner and designer behind this shop, is inspired by nature. I'm especially enamored with her new mixed metal pieces for all, since I've been mixing some metals myself. Her pieces have a delicate and almost ethereal quality to them, and can be dressed up or down.

Here are some of my favorite pieces from Andewyn Jewelry's etsy shop.

Andewyn Jewelry is giving away a $30 store credit to one lucky New Professional reader!
Grab some jewels for yourself or get a head start on your holiday shopping.

To enter, simply leave a comment below with a valid email address. I'd love to hear what your favorite Andewyn Jewelry piece is, too, so head over to their etsy shop and browse around.

Giveaway ends Thursday, November 17, and the winner will be announced on Monday, November 21. This giveaway is open to U.S. and international readers.

Disclosure: Andewyn Designs is a sponsor of The New Professional and has a paid sidebar ad. No additional compensation was provided to secure this giveaway or positive coverage. 

Edited to add: Please include a valid email in your comment. Just because you are commenting from a Google or Blogger profile does not mean your email is automatically attached to your comment. To make your email visible from your Google/Blogger profile, you must go into your profile, click "Edit," and enter an email under "identity" and make sure that "privacy" is set to "show my email address." If you have already left a comment but forgot your email or if your email is set to private, you have two options to complete your entry into this giveaway: 1) leave a second comment with your email referencing your first comment by date/time/name or 2) email me with your email address and referencing your first comment by date/time/name. Thanks!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Executive Summary | Links for your weekend | 11.11.11

My goal this week was to meet all my deadlines (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday-Thursday), and my reward was cracking open (err...clicking to open) Mindy Kaling's new book. I have a mad girl-crush on her right now. Sensational.

Happy Veterans' day, y'all! Please take some time today to shower thanks on those that have served our grand old country and let them know that you appreciate them.

After hectic week I'm excited to take a break today and tomorrow (Sunday afternoons are really productive for me so Friday and Saturday usually make up my weekend). Hitting up a Marilyn Monroe exhibit opening today and hoping to check out the Arboleda Vintage and Handmade Crafts Festival tomorrow (after my group run...not looking forward to that).

Some good stuff from around the Internets. Like I mentioned earlier this week, I'm a little sick of shopping and clothes, and have been reading mostly informative, career-related articles.
What good reads have you found lately? Feel free to fill in my lack of fashion and style links with some of your own recent faves in the comments.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Business as usual [outfit]

White blouse from Macy's - 2007 - gift card / Gap sweater - 2005 - $20? / Limited skirt - 2009 - $20 on sale / Enzo Angiolini pumps from Piperlime - 2010 - $35 / Necklace c/o Jada's Jewels - 2011

This is the most professional outfit I've worn in weeks. I'm not quite sure what it was (probably the fact that it was a Monday after a vacation), but I was just feeling it. I wanted the dressed up feeling. I wanted to wear heels. I didn't go far in this outfit, but it felt good while I was in it.

Now onto this sweater. I don't wear it often, but I've had it a long time and will probably never get rid of it. I remember the details of my purchasing the piece pretty clearly.

Let me set the scene.

Early September 2005. I recently moved to New York City begin grad school at NYU. One of the activities on our orientation week schedule is a job/internship fair. I only have three semesters to soak in all the journalism I can before I'm likely headed back to California, so I print out a stack of resumes and hit up some tables. I drop off a couple of resumes.

A few days later (I think it was the first week of classes) I have a free afternoon, so I decide to take a stroll over to Broadway in Soho to check out the shops. It's just a few blocks from my school-issued shared studio, and right before I get there, next to a wrought iron gate, I get a phone call. It's Time Inc. As in publisher of Real Simple, People magazine, In Style. I dropped off my resume and chatted with their internship coordinator a bit at the job fair, and it was at the top of my dream list.

After silently squealing in joy for a few seconds, I listen closely as the woman invites me in for an interview. I can't remember if she mentions what magazine or not, but no matter. I'm already in shopping mode, so I switch my mission to finding the perfect interview outfit. I walk into the Gap and head straight for the sale racks, since I'm fresh out of college and surviving on student loans and minimal savings. No luck. But then cable knit catches my eye. There are stacks of it in various colors on some shelves. And a small sign that says, "hey, these are on sale, too!" Not in those exact words. And that is how this sweater came to be mine.

I wore this sweater over this tie-neck top (purchased the same day) with black Forever 21 pants and red Payless flats. I remember feeling like I belonged in a country club. It must have gone well, since I got the internship (not with one of the big name mags, but with a smaller, custom publication). It was an awesome three semesters.

What clothing items do you still own and wear that hold the greatest memories?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Freelance files | Open for business

My new mini moo cards. Thanks, Klout (and Twitter friends).

As I'm going out and meeting new people in my new city, I get asked a lot of questions. The most common questions?
  1. What do you do?
  2. So what do you do?
  3. How do you get started doing that?
My answers?
  1. Some combination of the following words: freelance, contract, writer, communications, social media, nonprofits, grants, editing.
  2. Write reports, grants, proposals, articles, web content, marketing copy and blog posts, format and layout documents, produce print and online publications (like e-newsletters), copyedit and consult on social media strategy and communications. Not at all once, of course.
  3. Good question.
I don't have much of an answer yet for the third question because I sort of fell into this freelance thing and because it's different for everyone. I've been doing freelance copy editing since grad school, and have done a few freelance articles here and there as well.  I added in freelance grant and proposal writing about two years ago, and the rest is stuff that I used to do at my day job. I've noticed more and more young professionals going their own route, so here are my tips for drumming up business.
  • Reach out to your networks. All of my paying work so far has been with companies and organizations that I worked with in California. I told them early on (before I left) that I would be branching out on my own after the move and that I'd be available for hire. A few quick emails once I got here to let them know I was open for business and I have had a pretty steady stream of work (not enough to fill up my docket, but enough to give me some structure to my day and time to build on other areas).
  • Get online. My work isn't tied to geographic location, so the Internet is an extremely valuable marketing tool for me. I try to stay active on Twitter and Facebook and plan on investing some more time in LinkedIn, and of course this blog is sort of a live demonstration of my abilities (that's not the reason I blog, though). I'm also working—slowly—on my professional website. But social networks are my main target online.
  • Volunteer or do pro bono work. I mentioned before that I've been volunteering at Dress for Success Miami, but I never mentioned what I was doing. Well, we launched their new quarterly e-newsletter last week (which I wrote, designed and coded) and next up on my list is building out their website with content and features and updating their communications materials and social media efforts. I'm doing it pro bono for now, but I've already gotten leads for new local clients through my work with the nonprofit. It's difficult to branch out locally when my portfolio includes mainly in-house work done across the country, so having local work to show is a major plus.
  • Hit the pavement. There is a lot to be said for good old fashioned networking, especially in a town that is as who-you-know as Miami. Basically if you live in Miami and have a free lunch hour, I'll lunch with you. We can chat about fashion, TV, work, travel...whatever you want. We don't even have to talk about work (mine or yours). I'm just meeting people and going to functions (volunteering has been great for that, too). This part is the most difficult for me so far because I'm an introvert by nature, but I'm getting more comfortable with it. 
  • Brand yourself. Not with a branding iron, of course, but with a professional identity. Branding often includes logos, colors, fonts, taglines, etc., but it can also be with values, specialties, or a strong personality. I'm not working on a logo, for instance, but am focusing on several areas for my work (such as nonprofits and career development/professional advice). Hey, I know my strengths.
Have you ever opened your own business (small or large)? What tips do you have for getting your foot in the door?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall uniform [outfit]

Bobeau sweater from Nordstrom Rack - 2011 - $8 on clearance (purchased with birthday money) / Ella Moss tank from Anthropologie - 2010 - Christmas gift / J & Co jeans from Renew Denim - 2010 - $40 / Franco Sarto boots from Macy's - 2010 - birthday gift / London Fog bag from Amazon - 2011 - birthday gift + $5 shipping

After a week of not taking outfit photos, it's a little odd to start again. That's why you get this crappy cell phone pic instead of the usual crappy indoor pic. This is basically my fall uniform.

Flat knee-high boots
(I might need another pair to spread out the wear on these)
Skinny or straight jeans
(blue or gray)
Drapey cardigan
(gray or tan)
Top-handle bag with longer strap
(black or brown)

Optional: scarf, fun jewelry

Seeing that I have at most two of each of the core items to the look, I'm going to have to switch it up here soon. Like, maybe switch to a straight cardi instead of a draped one.

The day I wore this (Sunday) I mulled over my upcoming Christmas List (due at Thanksgiving) as well as my October spending. I've been rather uninterested in shopping and acquiring new things lately, so the Christmas List has been tough. As for spending, I'm still going through my birthday money (in September and October combined I only spent $106 of my $150 birthday check...I bought a dress, a pair of shoes, a top, a sweater, and a ring so far). I'm thinking I'll use the rest of it to get a haircut. I need some shaping. Or should I save that for my Christmas List?

What's your fall uniform?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Never before seen footage [outfits]

Hey folks! I'm back from my trip! I spent a week with my sister-in-law and her family helping out around the house after they had their new baby earlier this month. Some highlights:
  • Getting to spend time with my 3.5 year old nephew that he'll remember. Since before he was born, we've always lived at least 500 miles away, and it kills me that we don't get to see him grow up as closely as we'd like. Now that he's at an age where he notices and remembers things, it's even more important that K and I are in his life (we're his only aunt and uncle).
  • Changing my first diaper. I'm pretty impressed that I went 28 years without changing one. Luckily the baby was kind to me (didn't have to do any #2s). He's a keeper, for sure.
  • Bonding with my sister-in-law. Growing up with just a brother, I always wished for a sister (in addition, not instead of my bro). My best friends come pretty close, but it is definitely cool to have a sister in my sis-in-law. We've always gotten along, but because of the distance we haven't had the chance to spend quality time just the two of us until now.
I didn't take any outfit pics while I was gone (let's just say I was appropriately dressed for my week's activities...lots of jeans, tees, and flats), but there are quite a few photos taken earlier in October that I never posted, so here you go—never before seen outfits.

Gap tank, swapped dress as skirt, vintage belt, Emilie M bag, Rampage wedges, Nine West glasses (Yes, they're real. I've been wearing contacts since I was 12.)

Target top, Rockabilly jeans, Calvin Klein pumps, Jada's Jewels cuff

Gap Outlet tee, Black Orchid jeans, Franco Sarto boots, Old Navy belt, vintage scarf

BR Factory cardigan, Gap tank, J & Company jeans, Target flats

Max Studio wrap dress, vintage belt, Nine West Outlet boots, Premier Designs faux pearls

You can totally see the transition from summer to fall in these outfits. I've broken out my fall uniform (which you'll see tomorrow), even though it's still about 80 degrees here. It's only been a few months, but I've definitely acclimated to Miami, and I'm a little worried about how cold Southern California will be over the holidays. First world problems, I know.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Modern Mad Men [Guest post]

10.17.2011 1
LOFT blouse, $4 | The Limited Plainweave Contour Waist Skirt in Tuxedo Black, $60 | Ann Taylor Perfect Patent Skinny Belt, $4 | L'eggs Silken Mist hose in nude, $4 | Nine West "Vexo" pumps in black, $50 | Stella & Dot Goddess Teardrop Earrings | Stella & Dot Tribute Bracelet | Stella & Dot Signature Clover Bangle
worn October 17, 2011 to work

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Staying professional during pregnancy [Guest post]

Hi New Professional readers! I'm S. of Narrowly Tailored, and I'm thrilled to be pitching in for Angeline while she's away (returning the favor she did for me while I was on maternity leave a few weeks ago). Today, I'm tackling a topic that's fresh on my mind from recent experience: building a professional wardrobe while you're pregnant. 

My daughter M. was born just over a month ago, and I live in the mid-Atlantic, so my advice is slightly colored by having been barely pregnant in the winter and having gone through my third trimester during the hottest summer on record in our region (a fact I'll be sure to tell her when she gets older). I'm also a third-year law student who spent the summer working at two law firms in a major city with different dress codes, so I ended up needing clothes that fit a range of business casual to business-not-so-casual environments. In addition, like all of us, my body, my pregnancy and my closet are all beautiful and unique snowflakes, so your mileage may vary as to what works best for you. With that in mind, here are some of the things I wish I'd known about building a maternity wardrobe for the office:
  • First of all: you can do it! You will have days where you don't feel awesome, and where nothing fits right, and you can't imagine buying one. more. piece. of maternity clothing. But I promise, it is possible to put together a maternity wardrobe for the office that is stylish, current and makes you feel fabulous in your pregnant body.
  • Consider your office dress code carefully (I've written more about this here). In particular, do you really need a suit? Will your colleagues cut you a little bit of sartorial slack during your pregnancy? If you have friends at work who've recently had kids, ask them what their essential pieces were, and any stylistic pitfalls they ran into.
  • Take a hard look at your existing closet. What might fit for a while longer? How heartbroken will you be if some of these pieces get stretched out in the process? How comfortable are you using a bella band and/or the rubber band trick to extend the life of your pre-pregnancy pants?
  • Cast a wide net when it comes to sourcing maternity items. 
    • Do you have a friend or a sister of a similar size who has recently been pregnant? Is there a clothing swap coming up among your friends or in your region? I had good luck "shopping" a size or two up early in my pregnancy at a clothing swap a friend organized. 
    • Embrace shopping online. Many maternity lines are online only, so check your measurements regularly and be prepared to be a frequent visitor to your local post office to return things that don't work. Take advantage of free shipping whenever you can. In addition to brand-specific websites, try Zappos, Diapers.com, Figure8Maternity and Amazon.
    • Consider renting if you need a specific piece for a special event, like a suit for a job interview or a dress for a formal event. Websites like Mine for Nine have some great options, but think about the true cost per wear of renting a piece: it may be more economical to purchase an item new (or used) and then resell it on eBay or at a consignment shop.
    • Think beyond the Gap, Loft, Old Navy and Liz Lange for Target. I purchased a number of items from each of these stores during my pregnancy, and some of them were my MVPs. But for professional pieces and things I knew I was going to wear every day, I had better luck when I branched out a bit, to brands like Olian, Japanese Weekend, and Maternal America, many of which can be found used or new on eBay at huge discounts.
    • eBay, eBay, eBay. I got so many of my key pieces from eBay, including a pair of discontinued Loft "real waist" trousers, two pencil skirts for less than $5 each, and two pairs of Olian work trousers late in my pregnancy (and on a semi-emergency basis) for $15 a pair. There's a high-volume trade in new and used maternity items available, and it can be a great source for hard-to-find items if you're willing and able to hunt for them.
  • Don't do it all at once! While I tried to come up with the "one list to rule them all" early in my pregnancy of exactly what I would need, I quickly realized what a goofy idea that was. While I tried to prioritize purchases and think critically about how big of a capsule wardrobe I was acquiring, saving room in my budget and my closet to accommodate my changing body (and changing waistband preferences) as my pregnancy progressed was critical. 
  • Be willing to experiment. Your body is doing a crazy and completely amazing thing! It will change in ways you won't expect, and in some ways you will. You'll be more excited about some of them and less excited about others. Take advantage of the freedom of an unfamiliar body to experiment with styles and proportions you wouldn't necessarily wear. You might surprise yourself with something you love.
  • Stay true to what you love to wear. I thought about putting together a list of "essential" items here, but I realized the answer to that question is in many ways, way too individual, and also one to which you already know the answer. Think about what you love to wear to work now, and what kinds of things make you feel comfortable, put together and like your best, most brilliant self. Seek out the maternity equivalents of these items, or refashion or adapt your existing pieces to make them work with your changing body. You are doing something difficult and incredible, and you deserve to feel both fabulous and competent while you're doing it!
If you've recently had a child, what do you wish you'd known about building a maternity wardrobe? What surprised you most about dressing your pregnant body?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sponsor Spotlight | November

Thanks to this month's sponsors!

Go Chic or Go Home is a fun community of ladies (and gents) that love clothes and shopping. Upload photos of your closet items to create online inventory, gather inspiration from other members, and find out when your favorite GCOGH retailers have special offers with the new coupon code and sale enhancements. Request an invite today and get started.

Andewyn Jewelry designer Adrienne is inspired by nature, color, and texture, and it shows in her beautiful handmade pieces. Her sterling silver and gemstone pieces are unique and personal. They're the perfect finishing piece to a great outfit. Check out her etsy shop here.

5 tips to create an outfit that helps you achieve your career goals [Guest post]

Hello everyone! My name is Virginie, I am a movie producer and small business owner and my blog is Virginie's Cinema. I started getting interested in personal style when I realized it could help me achieve my career goals. Since then, I have discovered many ways our wardrobe can be a tool in our success and wanted to share with you five basic tips to make your outfit help you accomplish your dreams. Every work occasion deserves a different outfit strategy, but these tips apply to all situations and all fields. Here we go!

  • First, know what your goal is. You need to know specifically what you want in order to get it. Sure we all want success, but how do you define it? Do you want to get a promotion, be liked by everyone, establish your value in your company, get financiers to participate in your small business? You need a specific goal. My job is to get together the finances and organize the planning for the movies I make so my goal is always this: to convince and inspire—financiers, actors, service providers, my artistic team, etc. I have to convince and inspire them to come on my boat and row with me, although the seas will not always be clement. 
  • Then, choose 3 words that define how you want to be perceive. A leader, an indispensable employee, an approachable and human boss, a feared business person...what do you want your clothes to say? I like to be perceived as a serious and ambitious but creative producer. That's why I'll wear something traditional for the workplace such as a pencil skirt (serious) but with a sweater instead of a blazer (creative) and am not scared to use bold colours like yellow (ambitious). Pick three words that describe the business person you want to be and translate them into your clothes.
  • Stimulate imagination. By captivating the imagination we captivate the heart. And as much as we were made to believe business is emotion-free, it's not, even if only subconsciously. It's like publicity: no one is forcing you to shop at this or this store, you are choosing to because their ads stimulated your imagination and touched you. In today's world, you are your own brand and you need to sell yourself. How you look is definitely part of the equation. You want to choose an outfit that points to the goal you are looking to achieve and that shows you in your best light. You want to dress as if you have already achieved your goal so to inspire this energy in the people you are dealing with (and put it out in the universe!). I like to use subtle details like textured stockings or colourful shoes to add imagination to my outfits and like to be a little more dressed up than I really need to everyday to inspire, and hence create, success. 
  • Be memorable. You don't want an outfit that is shocking and over the top but you want something that will make sure you are remembered. We meet a lot of people everyday and you need to stand out in a way that helps you achieve your goals. In a world full of grey, I find using colours is an enticing and creative outfit strategy. The people you work with need to keep a positive souvenir of you long after you have left the room so that when they need your expertise they will think of you right away.
  • It's all in the details. Paying careful attention to the many details that make an outfit come together (accessory, jewelry, make up, nails, bag) says volumes about the care and attention you will give to your work, which is very important. It's a reflection of your work ethic.

I hope these tips are useful to you and I'd love to hear how they have inspired you and your work clothes! For more tips for the workplace, small business owners and freelancers check out my series You're the Boss Apple Sauce. We can all have the career of our dreams!

Thank you so much Angeline for having me over!

Virginie ♥

Shop this look!
Skirt: Vintage
Bag: Cole Haan
Shoes: ModCloth
Sweater: H&M
Pendant: Swarovski
Belt: Pretty Colourful Vintage
Stockings: Walmart