Meeting the Parents

So my friend is dating this guy and his parents were visiting for the weekend. I am not a fashionista, however, I do have practice in meeting the parents, since my boyfriend and I have been dating for years. My friend asked me for some ideas on what to wear. I thought I would write a little post about it, just in case there are more girls out there wondering the same thing.

First, what is the venue? Are you going to a lacrosse game or going to dinner? Since most girlfriends will meet their boyfriend’s parents at a dinner, I am going to focus on that for now.

So, you are going to dinner. Even if the restaurant is casual, you will have to dress to impress. Think timeless with a little spice. The trick is to wear something that the mom will approve of without looking like you are going to work or to church. You also do not want to be too trendy. For example, although leather is very in right now I would not recommend it for this occasion.

Below are some photographs of outfits I think would be perfect (well, maybe with a few changes).

This outfit works well because of the classic crew neck sweater and the flowing silk skirt. Navy blue is always a good color to bring out for this event and the stripes add color and pattern. I would lose one of the pearl strands though.

Now this outfit is a little more trendy but I love this whole look for this dinner (minus the sunglasses please). It is comfortable and easy going. The neutral palette appeals to everyone and looks sophisticated at the same time. I also love that she is wearing flats. I would definitely recommend flats or equestrian boots for your evening. Please leave your sky-high pumps at home, no matter how great your legs look in them.

In this last outfit, I wanted to point out a couple of things.  Dark jeans can usually be worn at a casual restaurant. However, I would encourage you to go skinny, rather than flare, with flats. What is really great about this outfit is the top and jacket. I love how she tucks her top into her jeans; very classic look. The jacket is also adorable and can be worn over a sleeveless top to give you some more coverage.

So now you have some ideas. I would also encourage you to get on Pinterest for further inspiration! Most likely, you already own the perfect outfit but just need some help visualizing it. Remember, it is most important to be comfortable and wear something that expresses your personality. Don’t worry…I am sure they will love you!

Do you have any thing further to add? Any more advice for girls about to meet the parents?  What would you wear?

Interview 101

I just got back to school and the question everyone is asking is “What did you do over winter break?”

Unlike some of my lucky peers who have jobs already, I have been going to interviews. Since it has been on my mind and I am a fresh source of information, I decided to write a quick post about interviews. I hope this helps any of my readers who are in the same boat as me!

1. Do your research: Before my interview, I always research the company. Some good sources are the company’s website, the news page on its website, the annual report and websites like Vault or Glassdoor.

2. Be prepared: make sure you have all the necessary materials, like a cover letter or resume, before going to your interview. Presentation of these materials is also important, so make sure you check out some examples and print them on a thicker paper. I also carry a little bag to interviews with dental floss, mini sewing kit, a lint remover and some other goodies. You never know what may happen along the way!

3. Know what they want: When you are interviewing, make sure you know the job description. Match what you say about yourself to the job description, if it is true.

4. Know what you want: What do you want from this interview? Do you want them to put you in touch with a colleague or usher your application through Human Resources? Make sure you know what you want before you walk in the door.

5. Dress to impress: It is always good to error on the side of modesty for an interview. A black or grey skirtsuit, a lady-like shell, stockings and mid-sized heels can never lead you wrong.

What did you do on your winter break? Do you have any good tips for interviewing, dressing appropriately or writing a cover letter or resume?

How are you “aligning” up?

Occasionally I blog about things that bother me, such as woman saying “like.” I have also found it helpful to blog about things I need to work on myself. Posture is something about which I have to be constantly aware. I know I am not the only one! Looking at young women walking to class or in the library, I see necks and chins sticking out and slumped shoulders all around.

Bad posture not only looks unattractive but it can cause health problems like permanent damage to your natural spinal curve, muscle pain and nerve compression.

Want to stop? Here are some helpful tips: Inhale and lift your chest up while pulling your shoulders back and shoulder blades down. Pull your chin in, so it does not protrude more than it should. Pull your stomach in towards your spine. Now you are looking good!

So how do you keep this up? I have been having trouble with this myself. Every couple of days I remember that I am trying to work on my posture. For a day I stand up straight and feel great! But then the next day I will have a paper due or have to research a company for an interview. Goodbye beautiful, tall woman and hello hunched creature huddled over a computer. While writing this post I have been playing around with a couple ideas. Maybe you could get a friend to watch their posture with you. You all could remind each other daily. Eventually perfect posture would be just a habit! Or perhaps getting a massage, after pinching some pennies, would help your muscles relax. Another idea is to do yoga at night or in the morning. It is a wonderful way to wake up and yoga inherently improves your posture if done correctly. Check out the diagram for a great morning routine!

Do you have any ideas about how to make good posture a habit? Do you think young women today have good or bad posture overall?

Branding: not just for products

                             Stand out
              Cite: American Narrative

How many of you have gone to a salon and said, “Give me (insert celebrities’ name) hair cut”? Do you look at magazines and wish you could have (insert model’s name) body? When I was younger,  I wanted to look like Reese Witherspoon in “Legally Blonde,” Rachel Bilson in the “O.C.” and also about a million other celebrities. Apart from physical aspects, do you ever do or say something just to fit in? Do you try to conform to the status quo? What about cultivating your own look, your own beliefs and your own unique self?

I was up in New York City this past weekend and began thinking, in between interviews, about developing my “personal brand.” This is a process in which you foster your image so that others come to recognize it.  For example, Kelly Cutrone is a PR professional who is known for being brutally honest and wearing black at all times. Even if you are not a fan of Kelly Cutrone, you cannot deny that she has successfully established her personal brand. Creating a brand means projecting a definite view of yourself to the world. If you have a personal brand, there will always be people who do not like you or do not want to be associated with your brand.

Another woman that has successfully branded herself is Hillary Clinton. You may not agree with her politics, but most women consider Hillary to be intelligent, articulate, and a pioneer, since she was the first woman to run for President in the United States.

Branding yourself is a deep process, one that can take your whole life. First you must ask yourself questions. For example, who am I? What image do I want to project to the world? The point of branding yourself is to find that point of uniqueness. What makes you different from the hundreds of other applicants? What makes you an individual?  Next, you must act on your brand. If you are quirky and nerdy, don’t try to be like the “cool” girls. Embrace your weirdness!  If you are a female engineer, don’t be afraid to express your femininity even though your profession consists of mostly men. I think Kelly Cutrone put it best when she said “normal gets you nowhere.”

Even if you are not applying to jobs like me, you can still benefit from personal branding. It does not have to be a commercial exercise, but can be a way for you to figure out who you are. Remember, you are always changing and so can your brand!

Who do you think has successfully branded herself/himself? Do you have a personal brand? Do you have any advice about how to build your personal brand?