How to wear it to work: Midi Skirts

LEAF1 and LEAF2 love Midi Skirts! They are so fun to wear to work and outside of the work environment. We have also worn midi skirts to several weddings. That’s why, we firmly believe that every woman should own a midi skirt! So how do you know if you’re purchasing a “midi” skirt (or dress)? As long as the length falls below the knee and above the ankle!

 

When buying a midi skirt/dress, make sure the hem line doesn’t fall at the widest part of your calves to avoid adding a few extra pounds. Additionally, if you’re trying to avoid the bulk around the waist area, make sure you select the midi skirt that is not pleated. If you’re petite, pleated midi skirts are great to create the voluminous look.

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Here’s an example of a midi skirt that falls at the widest part of the calves (not good!)

When wearing a voluminous midi skirt to work, we try to pair it with a simple shirt to keep the look minimal (see above). We have also paired it with a denim top to create that casual style (aka I-look-cute-but-didn’t-try-too-hard-this-morning look). Most people tend to tuck their shirts inside their midi skirts. But you don’t have to if that’s not your style – just make sure the shirt is fitted and belt your outfit.

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Old, but similar here!

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! Happy Valentines Day everyone! Thank you for your support!

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How to wear it to work: Booties

Leaf 1 and Leaf 2 LOVE a good fashion blog, and we are ALWAYS trying to find ways to incorporate the more casual fashion trends into the workplace. We thought we would start sharing ways we have been able to make some casual pieces dressy enough for work in a traditionally more conservative setting for our upcoming blogs.

Booties

Booties are one of the most practical trends in recent years. They’re comfortable, you can wear socks with them, and they are versatile. Why are there so few work shoes that women can wear with socks to work!? You can wear booties with pants OR skirts OR dresses. In a more casual setting, they look great with skinny jeans or slim fit pants, but for work you can dress them up a little by wearing them with a dress or skirt and adding a more structured blazer.These beige booties (see photo below) are versatile and the perfect color to wear with any outfit.

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Wearing them with long pants that are flared also creates a classy look, particularly if the booties have a polished finish.

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These black patent leather wedge booties have come in handy for work and a variety of social occasions!
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The detail on these booties make them ideal for dressing up with a black or neutral color palette
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Rupert Sanderson

Comment below with your ways for dressing up casual trends for work and stay tuned for more “How to wear it to work” ways to dress up your favorite fashion trends in future blogs!

What Accessories Should I Wear/Bring to the Interview?

This is such a simple question! However, it oftentimes makes us think twice and feel overwhelmed, enough that it may create temporary stress that could be perceived as an over-worried personality. Between LEAF1 and LEAF2, we have been involved with more than 100 interviews (either as interviewees or interviewers), and we have really seen some pretty cool ideas out there! So, here are some of our thoughts!

Purse or portfolio: In all honesty, it doesn’t matter what purse/tote/bag you carry as long as the bag is professional looking. Similar to your attire (seen previously), you want to keep the bag simple to avoid the attention being taken away from yourself or the interviewer(s). Bring a purse/tote that doesn’t distract anyone during the interview. Avoid bags with large (visible) logos and/or too colorful. Monochromatic bags are great for interviews. Keep the bag simple, functional, and professional. For those with minimal items to carry, a leather (or felt) portfolio may be a better alternative. LEAF1 loves her felt portfolio and carries it to all her meetings (and possibly, future interviews). Portfolios (aka Padfolios) can range from $20-$2000. Personally, we like our portfolios to be simple, thin and classic. Here are some of our favorites!

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Iphone Case: Caseology; Amazon | Felt portfolio (sleeve for Microsoft Surface): Amazon | Lip glow: Sephora

 

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IPad Portfolio: Dodo Case
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Signature ballistic nylon with leather trim Letterpad: Tumi

Jewelry: When it comes to earrings and/or bracelets, avoid swinging earrings and arms full of colorful (and even monochromatic) bracelets. It’s important to choose accessories that are not too loud. Keep in mind that when wearing accessories to an interview, less is more! The classic pearl studs has been seen again and again on interviewees, and you can purchase that anywhere! Check out the double sided pearl stud earrings below! If there’s a bold jewelry piece that has been passed on to you for good-luck, do wear it and share your story with the interviewer(s)! We will revisit this topic for more coverage!

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Double sided pearl stud earrings: As seen here
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Our favorite: Swarovski
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Keep it simple! Belt: Banana Republic (old; similar: Express) | Blazer: J-crew

Pantyhose: Currently, up for debate. Apparently, other sites have surveyed this question already and the answer was overpoweringly yes. So, Yes!-wear pantyhose. Others have said that this decision depends on a number of factors such as a company’s dress code/culture and the “generation” that you belong to. But LEAF1 and LEAF2 like to stay on the safe side, so we always wear pantyhose to interviews (whether we like it or not…). Stick to nude or black tights!

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Basic tights: Loft
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Bag: Kate Spade (Similar) | Shoes: Nordstrom Rack

We would love to hear your thoughts! 

Body Language Dos and Don’ts in Interviews

Welcome back to our second blog! Since our first blog on dressing for interviewing was so popular, we decided to expound on a few more critical points for expressing yourself when meeting people for the first time! We all want to make a good impression when interviewing or meeting other people with whom we hope to work but even once we’ve worked out what we want to say, we have to remain aware of what we are saying with our body language. Body language gives us insight into people’s intentions, motivations, and emotions.

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Too assertive for an interview | Dress: Banana Republic (Similar)

We think most of us have experienced a situation where someone says something like, “I love that movie,” and then rolls their eyes. If we were unable to see the eye roll, we would perceive the message differently than if we did see it. While that is an extreme example, it paints a picture that our non-verbal language says almost as much as our verbal communication does, so we want to be aware of it! Making eye contact is generally considered to be an important part of displaying engagement in a conversation. When someone is speaking to you, listen intently and make sure to maintain eye contact to display your interest. When you have the chance to respond, make sure that you return the favor, and use the chance to gauge your audience’s reaction to your statements. The wise communicator will feed off of the audience’s positive reactions to steer the conversation to a great endpoint!

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We can’t talk about interviewing and body language without addressing the handshake. Some people feel very strongly that your handshake says a lot about you. In the American culture, extending your hand and engaging in friendly acquaintance with the person you are meeting is considered polite. However, some people feel the need to make a statement with their handshake that you won’t forget. We are personally not a fan of the “bone crusher” handshake. While this is purely opinion, we would say that, as a general rule, you don’t want to be remembered negatively for hurting someone with your handshake. That’s true for many things with interviewing-you don’t want to be remembered for asking crazy questions that aren’t applicable, for wearing something inappropriate, or for being late or unprepared. But for handshakes, we encourage you to think about the intent- generally it is to greet someone with a friendly gesture. Therefore, it is inappropriate to squeeze someone til their fingers pop…no need to assert your power over them, that isn’t the message you want to send.

Another common gesture Leaf 2 is guilty of is crossing her arms. We think it is comfortable, and we are always cold to some extent it is practical. However, we don’t ever want for someone to think we are not interested in talking, or that we’re closed off to collaboration.  A better alternative to crossing your arms is to put one arm behind your back (see picture), or clasp both hands behind the backside in an effort to appear respectful (and to preserve that body heat and keep you from fidgeting with your fingers/pen).

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Avoid crossing your arms | Skirt: H&M (similar) ; Shirt: Target
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A better alternative to crossing your arms.

Remember that non verbal communication differs with language and cultural backgrounds, so your non verbal baseline might differ from that of others. In that case, displaying awareness and cultural sensitivity is the key to communicating in a way that everyone understands!

Want to give your 2 cents about interviewing gestures? Any tips you have for keeping yourself from fidgeting or engaging in inadvertent bad non verbal habits? Share with us below or on our Instagram account ileaf.blog! The more we talk about it, the more viewpoints we all have to build our interviewing expertise.

What to Wear to Interviews

Welcome to our first blog!

To kick off our site, we decided to talk about something that we get asked about all the time (and have often asked others about)- What to Wear to an Interview.

Books like “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell, or our friends/family who like to utilize cliches like “you only have one chance at a first impression,” let us know that the way we appear as we meet people for the first time is influential. Historically, there has been a lot of discussion about whether there is a color to wear to make a certain statement about yourself during an interview. A Careerbuilder survey from 2013 asked 2099 hiring managers and human resources professionals what colors they would advise interviewees to wear. The most common responses were blue and black, as you may have expected. Orange was considered by most to be unprofessional, yikes! However, the fact that no more than 25% of the people surveyed gave us the impression that there is a high degree of variability in what any given interviewer/hiring manager might find professional.

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We talked with a few of our colleagues, and found just that. Some people felt orange was acceptable (including LEAF1 and LEAF2, before doing this research!). Most everyone felt that black, dark gray, brown or navy as the primary suit color would be equally acceptable. While this still doesn’t give us a clear answer, what did become obvious is that a POOR choice in APPROPRIATENESS of clothing (ie something that showed a lot of skin, was too tight, didn’t allow for mobility, or wasn’t appropriate for the setting, etc) was more detrimental than any given choice in color. Those were the things that stood out in a bad way, when making a first impression. The best interview candidates were those who presented themselves and their skills with strong communication skills, and dressed appropriately for someone striving to obtain a position at the institution in which they were interviewing.

One thing LEAF 1 and LEAF 2 have asked ourselves often is, what happens if we can’t afford the fancy suits/bags/accessories we see on CEOs of Fortune 500 companies?! What if I’m fresh out of school, trying to make it on my own and this is one more thing I need to worry about? We feel strongly that while it is nice to dress in a way that makes you feel confident, if the clothes are used or not tailored to a “T”-it’s never a deal breaker (LEAF 2 just bought a seer sucker blazer and skirt for $10 at Goodwill)! As long as a person is neat and has put in effort to show that they are interested in the position, that’s all that matters. Here are some samples we came up with.

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Regent blazer (black): J-crew  (now 10% off); Lace peplum top (ivory): J-crew (now 30% off); Regent pant in wool (black): J-crew

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Top (ivory): Target (old); Pencil skirt (blue): H&M (similar)