sábado, 30 de março de 2013

Make your own "Wardrobe Essentails" list

If you've ever felt lost style-wise, you've probably searched and read one of these, so-called basics lists that come from articles titled like "The 10 pieces every woman should own" that most of the time include this precise list:

  • A white-button down
  • Black trousers
  • Perfect fitting jeans
  • A white t-shirt
  • A black or navy blazer
  • The LBD (little black dress)
  • Black pumps
  • Classic trench coat
  • The last two vary a bit but never stray much: a perfect scarf, bag, coat or day dress are the most common
But while some people buy all the things on the list and go on to live well-dressed and hapily ever after, some just stare at their screens and go "Whaaaat? When/Where will I ever wear that?". And this article is for you! Those lists are adapted to a big slice of women: working girls from late twenties onward. But that's not ALL women and the others need basics that match their lifestyle too!

I'm not going to preach what would be a perfect list instead because everyone's lifestyle and personal style is different. Some of the essentials above will be perfect for you, others would sit unused for years if you bought them. What I will do, is help you make your own "Essentials" list! Grab some paper and let's go!
  • Before you start, you should already have a good notion of your lifestyle and, to some extent, your personal style. If you don't already, introspect for a little before going on
  • Think about what is the core purpose of each essential from the list above. For example, the white button down: a top that goes with everything else in your closet and makes you look polished and in control
  • Once you've figured out why is it "an essential" think about why it doesn't work for you. In this example, the shirt may feel to stuffy or office-y, which may be unpleasant if it's not necessary to your lifestyle
  • Now that you've got the "why" and the "why-not" you can start thinking of a substitute. In our example, a younger teen may find a neutral polo to be the perfect solution as it's still polished but feels much younger. On the other hand, someone just starting work that just doesn't like shirts could opt for a blouse or elegant wrap top.
  • When you finish your first item, move on to the next until you feel like you've got everything covered. Remember some of the basics on the list may be just right for you and need no alteration.
Other things to keep in mind is that you're likely to already own these new basics, as they are likely the foundation of your personal style. 
And while most basics are supposed to be neutral, to go with everything, you may find that a certain colored piece get a lot of wear and also goes with most things. That would be a unique basic, exclusive to you! 

When you are done, re-check the list (and your closet) and look for the following:
  • A simple, polished top
  • A casual bottom
  • A semi-formal bottom
  • Casual, simple tops
  • A medium warmth cover-up, like a neutral jacket
  • A formal outfit for each season
  • Shoes that fit these purposes: casual, polished, formal (it's more than ok if one pair fits more than one need)
  • A coat that flatters your figure (this can be quite the investment and I personally recommend you get one in a strong color that looks good on you)
When buying basics, the most important thing to take into account is fit, and only then should you care about color or style. And since these will be the foundation of your wardrobe, you should keep your standarts high and not be afraid to make some of these your investment pieces.

So, which standart basics didn't work for you and how did you replace them?

sábado, 23 de março de 2013

What to wear to a casual job inetrview

The internet is riddled with advice on how to dress for a job interview in a corporate envinonment.
But what to do when we're talking about something much more casual? Nowadays it's just as competitive to try out for a part-time job or internship, even at a casual office, and you need to dress the part, to showcase the great candidate you must be.

If you are applying for a job at a startup or if you're a younger person interviewing for a casual job, the "common" guidelines will make you look stuffy and like you're trying far too hard. Try these instead:

Clothing

Asides from the basic "don'ts" (like refraining from legings, shorts or short skirts/deep cleavage), we're not left with much regarding non-corporate settings. Try to stay away from overly fashion-y looks until you get a better sense of how the other people dress and what is expected from you. 
Below are some outfit ideas for your next interview.

For an extremely casual place, you can try to simply dress up your regular clothing with jeans, a solid top and dark jeans but you can never go wrong by stepping it up just a little bit, if only for the interview.


For a slightly more formal approach, as in an internship or some place where you'll be expected to meet with clients, you can step it up a notch.


If you already have a no-fail outfit at the ready like a perfect fitting (and modest!) dress, wear it! A knee-length dress will always be a safe option anywhere you go in your career, as long as you keep it a solid and a neutral or jewel tone. For a casual setting pair it with flats and a cardigan. In fact, any of these outfits/combos can benefit from adding a colored cardigan.

Hair

Your hair should be the same as in a corporate setting and the guidelines are very simple: keep it natural and plain. If you are prone to twirling it with your finger, pull it back. The best way to go is with something unfussy and professional like a ponytail (with some hair around the elastic for extra polish) or a braid.

But if possible wear it down, with your natural texture or just wear a plain headband. And I mean plain, not Blair Waldorf-y! Just a solid neutral band to keep your hair from falling on your face, not a distracting or statement piece. If you're lucky, there will be a time for those once you're hired.

Beauty

If you're young/confident enough to go bare faced, do so. But if it makes you feel self-consious, it will show, so wear some makeup. A little bit of foundation and mascara go a long way in these situations so just go as basic as possible with some chapstick for extra shine, mascara and making sure your skin is perfectly moisturized so no dry patches will show.
Other than that, go easy on the smells. If you're already wearing scented products, skip perfume. If not, still consider skipping it, or wearing just a faint trace. Some people might be allergic or just plain not like it. Have you ever been forced to stay near someone wearing a perfume you didn't like? Don't be "that girl"

And now you're ready! Make sure you don't forget to bring an extra copy of your CV, a notepad and a pen to take notes and a couple questions to ask the interviewer (not about how much you'll make, that comes after!)


Now you can go on confident that your look will not spoil your chances of getting the job! Got any tips for anyone just starting out on their job-search? What about other questions about work wear? Feel free to leave a comment sharing your thoughts or write me to chica_esperta@hotmail.com

What would you wear to a casual job interview?

sábado, 16 de março de 2013

How to find your personal style

I hear this a lot on the web:
How can I get my own personal style? How do I find my signature fragrance/accessory/color/whatever? How do I break from the stereotypes that the media feed me and find my own voice?
Especially when it comes to younger girls (but not only), it is easy to not think much and just let yourself go. Someone else will do the thinking and tell you how you're supposed to look, how your clothes should be, etc. We are often guilty of this, when we stereotype others and their style as goth, preppy or anything really (just look at the poll on the right!)

No one's personal style fits into only one category. Some fit no category at all! But it is easier to separate things (and people!) into boxes and if we find ourselves in the box, we'll slowly lose our own identity and just become part of something bigger.

This phenomenon is easy to observe is high-schools. You'll often see someone dressing to fit in a certain group. They will tell you it's their own style but since no two people are alike, s/he actually absorbed the group's style and claimed it as it's own.
Like a goth kid who doesn't put this own spin into "goth style" or a preppy girl dressing just like the mannequins at the store, there are lots of people who have no personal style but are still stylish. It's someone else's mind creating those looks though.

Action:
Think about yourself carefully and answer some questions to better know who you are and what should you wear to express that.
Write it down, seriously. In a notebook or just some loose paper, write it down!

  • Describe yourself in terms of where you are in life, where that came from and where you want to be. Are you a curious students seeking adventure? Do you want to grow into a sophisticated woman or do you want to keep a child-like joy and pep indefinitely?
  • List your personal values. Think about whether you value more hard-work or results, people who give ideas or the ones that do stuff, is career or family more important? In sum: what do you value in other people and yourself?
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  • Picture your ideal partner. If you already have a S.O. try to ignore their characteristics for this exercise to work. Don't be afraid to be specific. Do you want someone tall? With good teeth? Someone laid-back or with a more structured way of life? Someone who likes long walks on the beach or that thinks romantic movies are kind of stupid? It's your call, choose whatever traits you find important. Try to list physical and mental traits, and try to imagine what this person would dress like. This will come in handy later
  • Picture your future/ideal self. Do the exact same exercise but for yourself within a couple of years. Then try to imagine how this person would dress.
  • Look at the girl in the image. Write down what you think of her and why do you think that. Then look at her again and pinpoint which aspects of her appearance made you think which things about her. Clothes communicate with the outside world and sometimes they are not telling other what you think they are.
Challenge:
This week, try to wear the simplest outfits you can. Jeans and a white button down or chinos with a gray sweater. Just as basic as you can get. If you lack the things you think are basic, go shopping for them. But take into account that the lists of basics you find online may not be the best for your personal style. Think about why that piece is an essential and how it would be useful to you.

Example: a black/navy blazer is a basic that comes up a lot in both men's and women's basics lists. However it is too stuffy for my personal life. I do own a casual blazer but it's brown plaid and not very versatile. 
The purpose of this basic is to add a layer that makes you more polished and put together in a color that goes with most if not all things. I don't own such a piece yet. 
So I'll go shopping for a casual jacket in solid navy or black that makes me more put together! (I ended up with a black military-style jacket that I use in place of a blazer. It makes a tee and jeans look much better and it's a basic that goes with pretty much everything I own)

You are free to add your flair to these simple outfits with some accessories but try not to, or keep it to a minimum. You'll find it harder to communicate who you are with your clothes when you wear super plain outfits.

This will help you better communicate with your own self, rather than a "barrier" caused by clothes. If the way people treat you changes, think about the message you may have been sending with your previous clothes and if/how you'd like to change it

Write down your outfits, if/what you added as personal flair, how it made you feel, what do you think you were saying with that outfit and other people's reactions.

Feel free to comment with questions or just sharing how your personal style journey is going so far.
Do you already have a personal style? What did you find most challenging along the way?
Are you still looking? What was/is your style like? What are you finding difficult in finding your style voice?

I'm dying to hear from you all!

sábado, 9 de março de 2013

Perfect Closet Series: Jackets, Pants and Shirts ("Hangables")

Is your closet already near perfection? Last week we tackled knits, tees and all "fold-ables" and told you we'd deal with stiffer blouses that are supposed to be hung later. Here we are!

  • Okay, if you've been paying any attention to the previous articles you can guess this step: take everything out of the closet and purge, purge, purge! You can keep stuff that doesn't fit you quite right if you take it to get tailored. Things that are too short/ tight/ wrong around the shoulders or that just looks "wierd" on you should get out of your closet (and life!) for good!
  • Sort what's left in categories: jackets, skirts, shorts, pants, parkas, blazers, it's up to you!
  • After knowing how much of which you have, consider getting new hangers. Clothes last longer and in better shape when we care for them. If you can, try to get them all in wood and fairly wide shoulders. If you lack space, try only wide shoulders for coats and other thick outerwear and keep all else in thinner wood hangers. If you can't afford them, plastic is okay too, provided it's not too thin. Wire, though, actually damages your clothes so you should just give them back to your dry cleaners. Try to gradually change your hangers to wood, maybe purchasing some at a time to treat your clothes the best way possible!
  • Coats are usually the most expensive pieces in your closet after shoes to you should try your best to care for them. Hang them in the widest hangers you own, use a lint roll when storing them for the off-season and keep them in garment bags during those months too! Try hard to keep them buttoned (if there is a single button on the inside, usually different from the others, just button that one. It means your coat will keep better if unbuttoned and that little one helps maintain the correct shape while in storage) and empty out their pockets every single time you take them off! You can also schedule a reminder in your phone to get them cleaned when the weather gets hotter before putting them away for summer: just don't keep them in the dry-cleaning plastic!
  • Jackets can also be kept just like coats but that's xepensive and impractical. Just keep them in wide hangers, with some buttons closed to keep the shape and empty the pockets. Getting them cleaned in their off-season is also good practice, as is getting rid of the cleaner's plastic as soon as you get home!
  • If you'd like to fold skirts and shorts go for it! Just fold them in half and stack them about three to four high. If you lack storage space for folded things or prefer to hang them, hangers with clips can hold multiple pairs of shorts and skirts. Test them on whatever you're wearing at the store. Some clips leave marks! The best ones are rubber coated. Sort them into skirts/shorts or winter/summer, whatever works for you best.
  • Let's turn to pants! Fold them in half and place in hangers. Depending on how many pants you have, you can buy hangers that store multiple pairs to both save space and organize better. To fold them, simply fold the waist in half and them pull on the crotch seam, where the legs meet, to ensure a smooth finished fold. If hanging space is scarce or you have one of those closets with lots of cubbies, you can stack them in twos or threes, trying to keep the stacks neat.
  • Last but definitely not least come those stiffer tops you know are supposed to be hung, like button downs, structured vests, blouses, etc. Just make sure they are clean and free of creases and hang them in the best hangers you can. These pieces are usually where you can scrimp in the hangers section, because thin wood or thick plastic won't make much of a difference, But for a streamlined, boutique-perfect look, I recomend the most inexpensive wooden ones you can find. If slipping is a problem, those tiny felt circles to stop furniture from scraping on wood can be glued to hangers to stop that! If you'd like, sorting them by colors gives a nice visual effect and make things easier to find.
Did I skip any area of your closet that could use some help? If you could use a hand with something we didn't talk about, leave a comment below!
If you think your friends could benefit from these series, share it on your social media of choice with the buttons below!

sábado, 2 de março de 2013

Perfect Closet Series: Knits and tees


These constitute the bulk of most people's closet so they usually take up a lot of space. You can fold and stack them but how do you keep that perfect boutique look?
  1. Purge, purge, purge. I cannot stress it enough. We usually keep waaaay too many sleeping/paintin shirts that have no business in our closet. Unwearable favorites can go in your crafts pile to make a quilt or even wall-art but god forbid you wear them again. Keep one or two ruinable shirts (they may come in handy)
  2. Make sure you've got the essentials covered. Your essentials may vary from most lists online but if you wear black tanks a lot but all were gone in the Big Purge because they were too small/tight/faded it's time to buy one or two new ones.
  3. Separate things into categories. Hopefully this isn't new to you. Make a stack of sweaters, long sleeves, short sleeves, etc. I trust you know this one already
  4. Get rolling! If your closet was a mess (and even if it wasn't) there's no harm in sweeping a lint roller through your stuff. You'll never believe how much stuff comes out! You can skip the tees bit knits, especially the dark ones are almost mandatory. If you own any furry pets this is not negotiable: lint-roll the ba-jeesus out of everything!
  5. Select a folding style. With a quick search online you can learn the ninja fold or just fold the sleeves in and then folding the whole thing in half. Try a summer job at a retail store to learn to do this in your sleep. It is important that you have a consistent fold for all your garments to end up the same size.
  6. Fold away! These garments should never be hung, ever! They'll sag and stretch down and fit terribly in amazingly little time.
  7. Get space. If you hung these clothes before you may need a new dresser with lots of drawers or one of those soft shelves you can hang from your closet rod with lots of cubbies. When purchasing new stuff for your closet, try to match it to the existing stuff or make sure that at least it coordinates so the final result is appealing to the eye.
  8. Make stacks of like items and put them away in whatever space you've designated for it. For knits, try to make lower stacks of two to four cardigans/sweaters tops (depends on thickness) so that it'll be easier for you to search for clothes, wear all of them, and keep the closet looking great without toppling piles of sweaters. If you can, try to make some space between stacks, but not much.
  9. T-shirts can be stacked higher (up to 8, ten tops) and the piles can be tighter together. Try to make sure that they are all the same size when folded and that you have enough space to be easy to look for them. If t-shirt space is tight from you making space for sweaters look into filing your shirts vertically although I do not endorse this method - I usually get lazy and start putting in horizontally folded shirts on top of the vertically filed ones ruining both the look and the system. Try it and see if it works for you. If not, purge some more!
If you have "stiff" blouses and other non-tshirt tops that are supposed to be hung wait for next week when we tackle them with jackets!