What to wear for a summer job interview! Start with deodorant…?

Here’s the sitch: it’s hotter than Birkenstocks in the 1990’s outside, and you need a job. You’d look great for an interview in January, but you’d be sweltering in thick, black fabric! Unfortunately a swim suit wasn’t the kind of suit your future employer had in mind for this occasion, and all of your other summer clothes may not be professional enough. 

So you asked, and I’m answering:

“I can’t find anything on Pinterest summer wardrobe ideas for job interviews! What tips do you have?”

 

Answer: wear this!

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Oh you mean you aren’t interviewing for the job of embarrassing prom date? Well then let’s dive into this a little bit more. 

 

MEN: 

Guys, tradition, unfortunately, will be keeping you in sleeves if you are looking to land that mainstream corporate gig. This doesn’t mean that you have to be boiling in wool, however. Summer-weight fabrics such as linen and seersucker are breathable and extremely classy choices for suits. Jackets are less necessary during this time, simply because of the heat, but when in doubt, err on the side of safety. Khaki’s and a button down are a practical choice. Be leery of different styles, however, should you be a gent who in interested in showing off your personality. Depending on the job you seek, consider how traditional your outfit should be. There is a difference between khaki colored slacks and khaki pants. If the khakis could be intermixed with jeans, then they probably aren’t job interview appropriate. More traditional companies or employers may be inclined to say that a pleated and cuffed khaki-colored trouser is more professional and classic. Likewise with shirts. Just because a shirt has a collar doesn’t mean it is the right shirting material.

 If I was your mom/sister/girlfriend (… and hopefully not all three) I would suggest you use good judgement and stray from getting experimental. There are ways of using subtleties to show off your personality, but if you aren’t sure what I mean, then you should probably just be going basic in the meantime. When you are ready to step it up, give me a call. We’ll go shopping.

Remember make sure that your belt, shoes, and socks match. Make sure your outfit isn’t wrinkled. Make sure everything is the proper length and fit. No shorts. No tennis shoes.  Not sure about something? Ask questions at quality men’s retailer. Women’s wear doesn’t have the same guidelines that men’s does, and quality male clothiers should be trained in the know-how of do’s and do-not’s. 

Here is a brief glimpse at how summer can translate into the modern day office.

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LADIES: 

Take a deep breath ladies, because fashion trends have transcended into business wear for summer. I actually think this is the best time to interview fashion-wise because of all of the possibilities! Being that it is sunny and warm, the shelves are lined with fun and expressive colors. Spring sales are aplenty and dark and gloomy colors have been buried, so forget that basic black a-line, and find something that shows off just how spectacular you are. My suggestion: make it classic, and also make it interesting. Start with basics like crisp linen pants, or a lightweight sheath dress. Traditional corporate job? Think pencil skirt and structured, short-sleeved top. Keep cool with silks and synthetics, and consider something flowy mixed with something structured. Make it your own with an accenting pair of heels and belt, or perhaps a dash of color with some fun jewelry. Keep it refined, but don’t let anyone tell you that a 9-5 means you will be relegated to sweater sets and 20th century conformity.  When you hit the shops to pick up that job-winning look, play with a variety of shapes and colors to make sure it works with your skin tone and body shape. Accents can be incorporated with practicality, and you may find that a brightly colored jacket or sweater is a suitable way to ward off A/C chill while not covering up your look.

Above all, make sure it is comfortable and flattering! If you feel good and aren’t pulling or tugging at your clothes, you will be much more likely to give the interview you want.  Leave your sky-high heels for date night!

Remember, cleavage is never okay. If it’s tight, it doesn’t fit. Close-toe shoes > your pedicure. No sequins are good sequins. Stay mindful of just how colorful you are- if you look like a walking color-by-numbers you may be overdoing it. 

Here are a couple ideas!

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Here’s an article I wrote for recent grads for the Portland State Vanguard… maybe this will help you too!

click here!

Friends, you are just one step closer to sweet, paycheck bliss. Now get off the couch, out of your Family Guy boxers, and take on the world!

Oh, wait… I’m the one in the Family Guy boxers…

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Probably time to get on with my day 😉

Enjoy the sun! xo

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Exercising my fashion muscles: Robert 2.0!

12 days of hometown bliss, followed by a week of extended family reunion, sparkles galore, and the crowning of Allison Cook, the new Miss Oregon 2013 has me in a hazy and happy state of mind. Alas, out of pageant  Narnia and into the real world I have come. While hoping to be met with the warm-fuzzy feeling of being home, I was instead met with a hot-sweltering feeling of our 95 degree temps this week. *gasps for air* Needless to say, I was chomping at the bit to get outta there! And what better way to do that then some sangria at lunch followed by a closet overhaul and styling session?!

Meet Robert:

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This eligible bachelor completed his 35th year in orbit last January, and now works as a Client Manager for Wold Consulting, a tech-based AMC. A friend of many, this karaoke rockstar loves to spend his free time enjoying nature, CrossFit-ing, and of course enjoying good conversation around town at one of the many scrumptious restaurants Portland has to offer. Robert has taken a hold of his lifestyle in the past 12 months and with that comes time to bring in some new fresh energy into his wardrobe. He is looking great and once I’m done with him, will be shaming Austin Powers with his spike in mojo. 

First thing: closet overhaul. 

dun dun dunnnnnnnnn!!!!!!

To get started, we headed straight for Rob’s house to see what we could keep and what would be good bonfire material. And forget bonfire– we’re going to have  a forest fire!!!!!!

Haha just kidding, Rob. It wasn’t so bad, but there was some intervention. To give you a brief recap, here are the things we pitched:

– shirts with decals, excessive embroidery, and arguably tasteless decorative patches

– clothing items that were too big. A nice problem to have for someone who is getting into shape!

– stretched out or worn-looking garments

– things that weren’t getting worn such as a sport coat with big ol’ shoulder patches and gifted items that didn’t reflect his personality

– “repaired” jeans (a.k.a. the inner handyman in Rob patched holes in the rear of well-loved pants)

And in his words, anything that screamed “douche caboose”.

Check out this massive stack of no-no’s! It’s like they’ve seen the light and are about to cross over into the great Buffalo Exchange in the sky……

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We did keep some things, and got a good idea of what the next steps were. 

Things we kept:

– business professional attire. Rob already has a good handle on what is appropriate for work, but we did find a couple items that will require some tailoring. 

– a couple long-sleeved casual shirts that stood out as a great style guideline for what suited Rob’s personal life- casual, comfortable, and still contemporary.

– jeans that didn’t need repairing and one light blue-grey pair made the cut, even though it had minor repairs

– a t-shirt that says “More Cowbell” with a picture of a cowbell. 1) because I’m not totally evil and 2) because Rob has a great Christopher Walken impression and an indefinite amount of Halloween parties in his future. 

Some of the things we found just needed tweaking in the way they were being worn. For example, a long sleeved button-up went from stuffy to relaxed when we left an additional button unbuttoned at the top and rolled up the sleeves. A unique linen sport coat was too thin to be worn with a traditional button-up, but looked noticeably fly with just a grey v-neck t-shirt underneath.

Shoes were the next thing we took a look at before we took off into the burbs for some treasure hunting. One of the first things I notice about a person is the way they complete themselves with shoes. What we keep on our feet is, more often than not, a direct reflection of our lifestyle. It is no surprise that Rob is a practical guy, so what I found was pretty basic. The black pair, the brown pair, the casual tennis shoe, and a couple randoms that were utility related. These are fine, but for someone who is looking to do better, there was room for improvement. Two brands dominated this footwear collection: Converse and Clark’s. By anyone’s standards, these are both brands that boast well-made shoes, but in the pursuit of refinement, fall short of what will take a man’s presence to the next level. 

Here’s what I mean.

Exhibit A-  the Clark’s:

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A little worn and a erring on the clunky side, these shoes fit the bill of an Average Joe, but were quickly put to shame as we found some awesome, albeit dusty, boots buried in the depths of the closet.

Exhibit B- the upgrade:

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Obviously on the left is the clunky Clark’s shoe, and on the right we have the hidden treasure. They are similar in shine and both have the capacity to be worn with jeans. Rob is ready to graduate from the school of thought that just any black shoe will do. Don’t get me wrong, something as practical and well-made as the Clark’s shoe isn’t bad. It is, however, not the best option in menswear for seeking a polished look.  

After we ransacked  through years of accumulated garments, we had a pretty good game plan.

1. Find some casual looks that reflected Rob’s personality and tastes and fit him properly.

2. Upgrade footwear to reflect a mature and evolved sense of style.

3.  Stay realistic with budget. Fortunately there is much less turnover in fashion for men than women, so we were likely to have some luck with quality brands even if we shopped the department discount stores. 

One of the perks of cleaning out old clothes is often finding hidden money in pockets, and fortunately we found a little extra spending cash to take with us on our adventure….

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Our first stop was Saks off Fifth! Located in the Bridgeport shopping development, Saks off Fifth offers discounted items from the high-end department retailer Saks Fifth Avenue. We rummaged through racks and racks of clothing, but weren’t as overwhelmed with choices as we had hoped. It would have been really easy to dress Rob up like a fashionisto, but my task wasn’t to dress a mannequin, it was to dress a personality. Rob’s only request was color, and with some luck we found a great orange and blue plaid button-up. It wasn’t too loud, the cotton was soft, and it definitely had an underlying “Portland” feel. 

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Shirts that met our criteria were scarce, so I pushed the envelope a bit in our hunt for color and found some deep green denim pants. A reluctant Rob took them to the dressing room, and came out striking model poses. Needless to say, I felt pretty good about that one. 🙂

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These two made the cut, and new threads in hand, we called it a “win” and moved on to the next stop!

Following Saks off Fifth,  we went to Nordstrom Rack in Beaverton. Another discounted department retailer, the Rack is one of God’s gifts to humankind, so we were quite hopeful for more success.

This experience was a little more hunt-and-peck, but there was much luck to be had. Rob took a mountain of clothing into the dressing room with the focuses being black jeans, more casual shirts, and with my encouragement, some colored, cargo-pocket-less shorts. The hunt had become more intense at this point, and I was getting a little more ruthless. I did spare him, however, from the chick repellant  that is cheetah printed menswear. 

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Umpteen pairs of jeans, countless ill-fitting button-ups, and a smattering of unflattering t-shirts later, my head was nearly falling off from shaking “no”. The Mount Everest of fabric had provided little inspiration, and patience was dwindling. With what good fortune was left in the day, we came across two must-haves. I’m not a huge fan of short-sleeved button ups for men, but we found one that might have changed my mind about them, for now. A dark grey denim with a faint sheen, it is definitely a sharp looking shirt for drinks with friends. In addition, we found a pair of solid blue cargo-pocket-less shorts that not only were a great deal, but they also added some color, and will look great with the shirt from Saks off Fifth. 

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The biggest accomplishment from Nordy’s Rack came in a pair. That’s right, we even found some shoes that are a serious upgrade! Slim, versatile, and even a little rugged, these are practical in more ways than one. 

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Not bad, eh? 

On that note, we called it a day. We were a little exhausted, but feeling fantastic with 1 long sleeve, 1 short sleeve, 1 pair of green pants, 1 pair of blue shorts, and 1 pair of shoes!!! Not only was he able to add five new boosts to his post-purge closet, he was able to get a variety of garment styles that are cohesive with his personality and lifestyle

As I wandered around these stores and shook my head incessantly, thoughts seemed to come loose and I pondered again my philosophy on fashion. It has become increasingly evident to me in the past few years how crucial visual presentation can be in wholly communicating oneself to others. In other words, I don’t think anyone would look at a man in a three piece suit and say “wow, I bet he paints bird feeders and lives in a nudist colony.” If he did, then the life inside his mind truly wouldn’t reflect the way he communicated himself visually. This is, of course, extreme, but generally people want to be understood. It may be the case that people get derailed somewhere and lose fluency in visual language as it evolves the way verbal language does. Nobody says “all that and a bag of chips” for the same reasons people don’t wear Birkenstocks and Hansen tees with as much frequency as in the 90’s. Shopping with Robert felt less like a scene out of Clueless and more like a visual communication tutoring session. If you met him now, at first glance you would be able to tell he was a practical guy that also has personality. He is relaxed, but active. He is mature, but not old. He is rational, and not lazy. There is an endless combination of fabrics, cuts, and colors that could tell you exactly those things about Robert, which makes things a headache for some but a fun game for me! 

I had a ball exercising my fashion muscles and helping Rob feel good about what he’s got goin’ on! I think he is pretty stoked too..unless of course he is lying…. and hates everything… and then I’ll just scream and kick and break into his house and replace every piece of clothing with these!!!

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MUAHAHAHAHAha….hahah….haha…

Wait… wouldn’t that actually be awesome?

😉

Anyways, HUGE thank you to Robert for letting me play “What Not to Wear” and agreeing to let me put it in my blog 🙂 AND a GIGANTOR thank you  to my faithful readers who have been bugging me to get back to writing– your kind words have me more motivated than ever!!!! 

xo

 

 

My dad doesn’t need Google for fashion advice

My dear readers I have a special treat for you- my first guest contributor! After reading my suit article, I got an e-mail from my favorite guy in a suit! My dad! (yes apparently he is reading my fashion blog- what a guy! haha) So with his permission, I’ve included his two cents! 

Miss Caroline,  As one who started his working years in the men’s clothing business, at a high end men’s retail and tailor shop, I know a little something about suits.  My personal preference is in the style.  There are different styles of men’s suits.  The traditional style calls for a three button coat, a single “hooked” center of the back flap, and lapped seams(rather than single seams).  In the summer time cotton poplin, linen, and seersucker are my preferred cloths, though a very light hard finish thin wool can be nice.  In the winter I prefer 100% wool, with a hard finish.  Soft finish, like thick cloth, for blazers is good, too.  The trousers can be either plain front or pleated, but traditional calls for cuffs on the trousers.  I prefer a 2 inch cuff.  A lot of the high vis folks you pictured were wearing more fashion oriented suits, but my favorite is still the classic traditional style.  Hope that helps.  I love you,  Dad

Thanks, Dad! He doesn’t need Google to know what’s up. Let’s take a look at his pointers.

Traditional style coat has three buttons:

images-4 NO

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A hooked back flap?

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Oh! I get it now!

Wait, lapped seams? *tikka tikka tikka* I know these! I’ve been taught they are called “flat fell” seams. These are the kinds of seams you can probably find on the inside of your leg on your jeans! Look down! In fact, I used these on those flashy PJ’s I wore in “Breakfast-Casual” and Hairdryer Glamour Shots both on the shoulder seams and on the inside seams! If you weren’t wearing jeans and need a better idea of what I’m talking about then behold: the flat-fell/ lapped seam

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My dad mentioned his preferences for fabrics, also, which is an increasingly relevant topic in my life. (I just started my textiles classes tonight!) And he’s not kidding– he boasts a sharp collection of seersucker suits. If you aren’t literate in fabrics yet, thats okay! I probably wouldn’t know what seersucker was called if I hadn’t seen him wearing it all these years. You’ve seen it- its a lightweight fabric that is striped in white and pastel.

images-3 << I think he has at least 3 out of 5 of these colors.

I neglected to clearly acknowledge the way the seasons correlate with fabrics as it relates to suits, so this was a great point to address.

Moving on to pants, here is a great photo showing both styles my dad mentioned in his note. The left is the pleated complete with 2 inch cuffs, while the right is pleat and cuff-less.

Pleats-vs.-Flat-Front

Even though my dad would pass up Justin’s “Suit and Tie” to listen to these suited gentlemen…

…he still knows what he’s talking about.

And you can take that to the bank!

I’m also wearing a suit, but you can’t see it. teehee.

Today I was listening to Justin Timberlake’s new album, “the 20/20 experience”. For some reason, part of me hadn’t really wanted to like it. I haven’t listened since I bought it weeks ago and was feeling fairly “meh” about the absurdly long songs. Well, it got me, and I don’t know if it was just because it’s actually catchy or I was imagining JT suited up.

As long as he’s got his suit and tie, the world is a better place to live in.

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Truth is, though, I really don’t know much about suits. I watched my dad wear one every day to work, I own a couple that I used on professional Miss O appearances, and I’m known to ogle at sharply dressed gentlemen (though they are less common in Portlandia). So I asked myself and subsequently googled: what makes a good suit? 

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Okay not that kind of suit… (you know I couldn’t resist)

What seemed to be consistent results were:

Quality fabric- I feel like this goes without saying, but I didn’t realize it’s wool or bust. One needs a suit that can breath. 

Hand sewn- this allows for the structure to be more fitted, and not flat from using a machine

Lining- this is the inner layer of fabric that lies closest to the body. It should be made of a breathable fabric. Nobody wants to wear a garbage bag.

Canvassed over Fused- this means there is a layer in between the lining and outer fabric that shapes the garment. Were it fused, there would be a material stuck with adhesive to the outer fabric to give it thickness, but it wouldn’t hang quite as well. 

Details- this is what takes a suit from being a uniform to an earmark of a dude who knows the word “debonair”. 

Fit- if the suit doesn’t look like it was made for your body, you’d be better off in your birthday suit. One of the key elements to a great suit is making sure all the hems and seams are right where they should be. Don’t mess around get it tailored so you don’t look like this:

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Sorry bro, that’s not going to get you a date to the office party.

The bottom line with suits is that you can’t fake quality. To get the perfect suit, one must know right from wrong and tight from long. Standing out means taking high-quality detailing to the next level, and you have to be prepared to dish out for those top-notch duds.

Let’s take a moment of silence (aka speechlessness) at some beautiful….. suits.

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Hubba hubba!

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And of course:

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To all of my straight females and gay males reading out there: you’re welcome.

And for all of my fellow How I Met Your Mother fans: well… you know what to do.

🙂